Assessing the potential for biomass energy to contribute to Scotland's renewable energy needs

R S Andersen, W Towers, P Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this study was to determine Scotland's potential for biomass energy production, and what role it could play in contributing to Scotland's renewable energy needs.

We found that short rotation coppice (SRC) could potentially produce up to 3.3 GW of electricity, thereby supplying up to 31% of Scotland's current domestic electric energy requirement of 10.5 GW, and could supply 5.71 GW of energy through combined heat and power (CHP). Forest residues have the potential to produce 0.94 GW of electricity, thereby accounting for 9% of Scotland's electricity requirements, and up to 1.64GW of energy through CHP.

SRC could displace about 6 Mt C from fuel oil and thereby reduce annual CO2 emissions by 22 Mt yr(-1) (15% decrease of 1999 emissions) by replacing fossil fuels for energy generation. Forest residues could reduce CO2 emissions by 6.5 Mt (4% decrease of 1999 emissions).

When compared to other renewables, bioenergy (SRC plus forest residues) has about the same potential as tidal, about half the potential of wave and about 1/5th the potential of wind energy. Our figures suggest that bioenergy should form part of a diverse renewables portfolio for Scotland. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-82
Number of pages10
JournalBiomass & Bioenergy
Issue number2
Early online date10 May 2005
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2005


  • biomass
  • short rotation coppice
  • forest residues
  • roundwood
  • Scotland
  • climate-change commitments
  • carbon mitigation
  • Europe


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