Abstract: The utilization rate of woody biomass in eastern Finland is high and expected to increase further in the near future as set out in several regional, national and European policies and strategies. The aim of this study was to assess the sustainability impacts of changes in fuel consumption patterns. We investigated fossil and woody biomass-based energy production chains in the region of North Karelia, focusing on some economic, environmental and social indicators. Indicators were selected based on stakeholder preferences and evaluated using the Tool for Sustainability Impact Assessment (ToSIA). The analysis was based on representative values from National Forest Inventory data, scientific publications, national and regional statistics, databases, published policy targets and expert opinion. From the results it became evident that shifting from fossil to wood-based energy production implies some trade-offs. Replacing oil with woody biomass in energy production would increase the local value added remaining in the region, create employment opportunities and would reduce total GHG emissions. However, firewood, wood chips from small-diameter trees from early thinning and wood pellets have high production costs. Moreover, large greenhouse gas emission resulted from wood pellet production. The case study generated valuable reference data for future sustainability assessments and demonstrated the usefulness of ToSIA as a tool presenting existing knowledge on sustainability impacts of alternative energy supply chains to inform decision making.
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den Herder, M.; Kolström, M.; Lindner, M.; Suominen, T.; Tuomasjukka, D.; Pekkanen, M. Sustainability Impact Assessment on the Production and Use of Different Wood and Fossil Fuels Employed for Energy Production in North Karelia, Finland. Energies 2012, 5, 4870-4891.
den Herder M, Kolström M, Lindner M, Suominen T, Tuomasjukka D, Pekkanen M. Sustainability Impact Assessment on the Production and Use of Different Wood and Fossil Fuels Employed for Energy Production in North Karelia, Finland. Energies. 2012; 5(11):4870-4891.
den Herder, Michael; Kolström, Marja; Lindner, Marcus; Suominen, Tommi; Tuomasjukka, Diana; Pekkanen, Matias. 2012. "Sustainability Impact Assessment on the Production and Use of Different Wood and Fossil Fuels Employed for Energy Production in North Karelia, Finland." Energies 5, no. 11: 4870-4891.