Nordregio has released a working paper looking into rural bio-energy development in the region of North Karelia in Finland, and Jämtland and Västernorrland in Sweden. The paper identifies the enabling factors behind the relatively successful local bio-energy development and considers how the bio-energy development has influenced sustainable local and regional development.
The working paper is a part of the TRIBORN Project, which investigates how to increase the production of bioenergy in ways that promote sustainable development understood as positive economic, social and environmental outcomes – in rural areas.
TRIBORN is a Norwegian-led research project investigating how to increase production of bioenergy in ways that promote sustainable development in rural areas. It aims to understand and foster systems for bioenergy innovation and related support policies that can produce positive social, economic and environmental outcomes. The Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO) leads the project, and the Research Council of Norway funds the project. In addition, the Norwegian Forest and Landscape Institute and Nordregio, a Nordic research institute for regional studies, are key partners in the project.
For the GREBE partner region of North Karelia, the report summarizes the bioenergy sectors success factors and development, but also challenges related to the utilisation of the sectors potential. The report refers to the OECD Green Growth Studies stating that “many favorable institutional factors for regional innovation are in place in North Karelia: strong local government with willingness to act, local ownership of power utilities, presence of strong research institutes and education facilities, tradition of co-operative organization, legitimacy of local bioenergy production and presence of local and regional actors in several stages in the supply chain”.
As development challenges, the report identifies several aspects, such as changes in forest and bio-energy policy; access to risk finance and other economic challenges facing especially local small and medium-sized enterprises; the challenge of ageing population; and the question of openness of the current innovation platform for innovation and development around other thematic areas than forestry and bio-energy. For instance, bio-economy opportunities in the agri-food sector could be investigated in more detail.
The collaboration with Nordregio and TRIBORN project has provided valuable development information for the bioeconomy sector in North Karelia, as well as comparisons to the sector development in northern Sweden.
Bioenergy Development in Finland and Sweden: The cases of North Karelia, Jämtland, and Västernorrland
Nordregio Working paper 2017:6
ISBN: 978-91-87295-53-9; ISSN: 1403-2503
Editors: Anna Berlina and Nelli Mikkola with contributions by Karen Refsgaard and Alberto Huerta Morales
Full text available for download: http://norden.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1147107/FULLTEXT02.pdf