Economic and socio-economic evaluation of bioenergy schemes fueled with energy crops in Greece
The main aim of this thesis is to evaluate the economic and socio-economic viability of energy crops as raw material for bioenergy schemes at the local level. The case examined is Greece, a southern Mediterranean country. Based on the current state, on foreseen trends and on the information presented in the literature review (conducted at the beginning of the study), the main goal was defined as follows: To examine the evidence supporting a strong role for dedicated energy crops local bioenergy developments in Greece, a sector that is forecasted to be increasingly important in the short to medium term.' Two perennial energy crops, cardoon (Cynara cardunculus L.) and giant reed (Arundo donax L.) were evaluated. The thesis analysed their possible introduction in the agricultural system of Rhodope, northern Greece, as alternative land use, through comparative financial appraisal with the main conventional crops. Based on the output of this comparative analysis, the breakeven for the two selected energy crops was defined along with a sensitivity analysis for the risk of the potential implementation. Following, the author performed an economic and socio-economic evaluation of a district heating system fuelled with energy crops in the selected region. Finally, the author, acknowledging that bioenergy deployment should be studied in the context of innovations proceeded in examining the different perceptions of the key groups involved, farmers and potential end users. Results indicated that biomass exploitation for energy purposes is more likely to be accepted when it is seen clearly as one strand in a national energy, environmental and agricultural policy which embraces several sources of renewable energy, and which also encourages energy efficiency and conservation.