This paper uses both quantitative and qualitative analyses to evaluate the effectiveness of government policy and support mechanisms in the UK, Sweden, Denmark and Finland in promoting bioenergy – a key technology fundamental to each country's decarbonisation strategies. It is crucial that countries develop effective policies and support mechanisms to grow sustainable bioenergy sectors. This paper analyses the success of bioenergy policies within each country and evaluates the importance of wider independent variables that collectively characterise the background to energy sector, economic and environmental dynamics. Statistical correlation and regression analyses are applied to identify if the policy landscape has had an identifiable impact on actual bioenergy development. Furthermore, the outputs from a stakeholder workshop and expert interviews are analysed to identify drivers and barriers to bioenergy. The result is a comprehensive analysis of the successes and challenges in bioenergy development, and possible lessons that can be drawn for future promotion of the sector. The research finds that the UK and Nordic countries have had different yet equally successful approaches to promoting bio-power and bio-heat respectively. However, the influence of wider factors within different countries is found to have a potentially greater collective impact on bioenergy than any single policy mechanism. Thus there is credence in learning lessons from what does and does not work in different countries, but countries also need to develop their own brands of policy interventions that suit their country's unique challenges.
Bibliographical note© 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license
Funding: This research was funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council; the UK Supergen Bioenergy Hub (EPSRC EP/ J017302/1 and EP/S000771/1), the BEST Bioenergy project (Finland); EES Doctoral programme (Academy of Finland)