This paper deals with processes and outcomes of sustainable bioenergy development in Emilia Romagna. It draws on an on-going research project concerning inclusive innovation in forest-based bioenergy and biogas in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Italy. The goal is to explore how local governance impacts on inclusive innovation processes and triple bottom sustainability of bioenergy development in Emilia Romagna and, ultimately, to contribute to the debate on the bioeconomy. It thus compares the case of biogas and forest-based bioenergy production. The study adopts an analytical framework called Grounded Innovation (GRIP) and the local governance approach. The study uses qualitative methods and particularly semi-structured interviews and governance analysis. The key results show different outcomes on both inclusive innovation and triple bottom-line dimensions. Biogas has not fostered inclusiveness and triple bottom line sustainability benefits, contrary to forest-based bioenergy. The findings indicate that the minor role of local actors, particularly municipalities, in favour of industrial and national interests may jeopardise the sustainability of biobased industries. Besides, policies limited to financial incentives may lead to a land-acquisition rush, unforeseen local environmental effects and exacerbate conflicts.
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