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Energies 2016, 9(11), 965; doi:10.3390/en9110965

The Effect of Biogas Production on Farmland Rental Prices: Empirical Evidences from Northern Italy

1
Department of Health, Animal Science and Food Safety (VESPA), University of Milan, 20133 Milan, Italy
2
Department of Economics, Management, and Quantitative Methods (DEMM), University of Milan, 20133 Milan, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Thomas E. Amidon
Received: 8 June 2016 / Revised: 23 October 2016 / Accepted: 25 October 2016 / Published: 18 November 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Economics of Bioenergy 2016)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [2195 KB, uploaded 18 November 2016]   |  

Abstract

In the last decade, increased environmental awareness has prompted the adoption of incentives for exploiting renewable energy sources. Among these, biogas production has received a certain attention in developed countries. Nonetheless, the subsidies provided have posed the problem of an activity (the production of bioenergy) that engages in direct competition with food and feed production for limited resources, like agricultural land. Even if this competition may be softened by allocating marginal land and/or using dedicated non-agricultural crops, empirical evidence shows that biogas plants have been developed in highly-productive agricultural areas, using increasing amounts of maize silage as feedstock. Thus, studies aimed at measuring the effect of biogas production on agricultural activities are needed in order to avoid this socially undesirable outcome. The paper presents an econometric estimation of the impact of biogas plants on farmland rental values of a Northern Italian rural area. Results show that biogas has a non-linear effect on rental prices, suggesting that incentive schemes specifically accounting for plants’ dimensions and technologies would improve the social sustainability of the bioenergy sector and its coexistence with agricultural activity. View Full-Text
Keywords: biogas; farmland rental price; farmland value; environmental trilemma; bioenergy; social sustainability; agricultural fixed resource; rent; agricultural land price; land use biogas; farmland rental price; farmland value; environmental trilemma; bioenergy; social sustainability; agricultural fixed resource; rent; agricultural land price; land use
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Demartini, E.; Gaviglio, A.; Gelati, M.; Cavicchioli, D. The Effect of Biogas Production on Farmland Rental Prices: Empirical Evidences from Northern Italy. Energies 2016, 9, 965.

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