Agrarian pruning and plantation removal (APPR) is a common residue from pomo-technical maintenance of orchards, vineyards, and olive groves, frequently overlooked by the energy sector. This paper sheds new light on the socio-economic role of APPR as solid biofuel. The paper suggests business models that could both alleviate energy poverty in rural areas and increase the competitiveness of perennial crop (fruits, olives, vine) production. The effects of mobilizing APPR potential via business models are estimated at the micro (households’ income) and macro (number of households affected, size of the investment, tax effect, CO2eq
savings) levels in the Croatian setting. Contrary to classical energy planning, the paper provides an approach that fosters local use of bioenergy by linking rural development with renewable energy end-use. The approach linked pruning energy potential with 47% of Croatian rural households which allows creating an evidence-based policy for rural development utilizing APPR as a sustainable solid biofuel. The most attractive business model for Croatian rural areas is utilization of APPR as a solid biofuel. It could be used as an energy poverty alleviation measure, allowing savings per heating season equivalent to 5%–11% of the average disposable income per household. Net APPR influence at VAT tax is estimated at 5.5 million euro·y−1
. The paper proves that using average values for APPR in energy planning could be misleading.
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