Consumption of wood biomass for energy in Italy: a strategic role based on weak knowledge

Alex Pra, Davide Pettenella


Given the growing role of wood biomass as a strategic resource in the European and national renewable energy policies, the paper provides two new estimations of the internal consumption and supply levels, aiming at discussing the real role of this resource in the national energy mix and the implications of this market in terms of forest policies. The first estimation focuses on household consumption and expenditure based on the ISTAT “Survey on consumption by families”, and the second analyzes how the wood biomass supply is structured and organized; this second estimation has been carried out with an expert panel consultation based on a Delphi-based approach. These two estimations are then compared and discussed with reference to the data and information provided by official sources and other publically-available studies and surveys conducted in recent years. The results provide evidence that wood biomass is the first source of renewable energy in Italy and that official data only partially quantify the consumption levels in the residential sector and domestic supply rates. The paper highlights the need for a new approach in data collection on this fast-growing market; these data are essential for a more effective implementation of the renewable energy policy and other relevant forest-related policies such as those on climate and wood mobilization.


biomass consumption; wood energy; Delphi method; Italy

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