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Forests 2015, 6(11), 4168-4190; doi:10.3390/f6114168

Quantifying the Effects of Biomass Market Conditions and Policy Incentives on Economically Feasible Sites to Establish Dedicated Energy Crops

1
Department of Geography, Room 304, Burchfiel Geography Building, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA
2
Department of Forestry, University of Kentucky, Thomas Poe Cooper Building, Lexington, KY 40546, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Maarten Nieuwenhuis and Eric J. Jokela
Received: 11 August 2015 / Revised: 12 October 2015 / Accepted: 12 November 2015 / Published: 18 November 2015
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Abstract

This study used a spatially-explicit model to identify the amount and spatial distribution of economically feasible sites for establishing dedicated energy crops under various market and policy scenarios. A sensitivity analysis was performed for a biomass market with different discount rates and biomass prices as well as policy scenarios including propriety tax exemption, carbon offset payments, and the inclusion of farmland for biomass production. The model was applied to a four-county study area in Kentucky representing conditions commonly found in the Ohio River Valley. Results showed that both biomass price and discount rate have a can strongly influence the amount of economically efficient sites. Rising the biomass price by 5 $·t−1 and lowering discount rate by 1% from the baseline scenario (40 $·t−1 and 5%) resulted in an over fourteen fold increment. Property tax exemption resulted in a fourfold increase, a carbon payment on only 1 $·t−1 caused a twelve fold increase and extending the landbase from marginal land to farmland only slightly increase the economically efficient sites. These results provide an objective evaluation of market and policy scenarios in terms of their potential to increase land availability for establishing dedicated energy crops and to promote the bioenergy industry. View Full-Text
Keywords: woody biomass utilization; spatially-explicit model; sensitivity analysis; Kentucky woody biomass utilization; spatially-explicit model; sensitivity analysis; Kentucky
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

Nepal, S.; Contreras, M.A.; Stainback, G.A.; Lhotka, J.M. Quantifying the Effects of Biomass Market Conditions and Policy Incentives on Economically Feasible Sites to Establish Dedicated Energy Crops. Forests 2015, 6, 4168-4190.

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