Venus, Terese E., Felix Strauss, Thomas J. Venus, & Johannes Sauer (2021, October). Understanding stakeholder preferences for future biogas development in Germany. Land Use Policy, 109, art. 105704. (doi: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2021.105704) (Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2021.105704)

Abstract: As the German Renewable Energy Act (REA) strongly contributed to biogas expansion, the phase out of feed-in-tariffs poses serious challenges to the biogas sector and has implications for agricultural land use at the soil (e.g., digestate), field (e.g., crop variety) and sector level (e.g., land rental prices). Using the Q-methodology, we investigated stakeholder preferences for biogas development in Germany and identified four perspectives: (i) economic security and support, (ii) sustainability, (iii) opportunities for other farmers and (iv) alternative scale-dependent support. Although stakeholders recognized the importance of biogas for flexibility, there were diverging views on whether biogas should continue to receive economic support in the long-run and how effects on the agricultural market should be handled. If support compensates for specific aspects such as flexibility, special feedstock or heating, policy changes will likely reduce tension between biogas and non-biogas farmers. Farmer collaboration and community cooperation for heating were also investigated. Several farmers noted difficulties due to high transportation costs, limited storage and dependence on other farmers. Further research should investigate collaborative models, private incentives for cooperation and the additional services that biogas plants provide to the community (e.g. heating, drying of wood, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions).

Terese E Venus <terese.venus@tum.de> is in the Department of Agricultural Production and Resource Economics, Technical University of Munich, Freising, Germany.

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