En-ROADS User Guide


Discourage or encourage the use of trees, waste, and agricultural crops to create energy. These sources (feedstocks) feedstock: Raw material used for an energy or industrial process. For bioenergy, these can be wood, waste, crops, algae, etc. produce energy when burned as solids (e.g., wood), liquids (e.g., ethanol), or gas (e.g., methane from decomposition). Some feedstocks can be sustainable and others can be worse than burning coal. Carbon capture and storage technology could be used with bioenergy (BECCS), but is not yet used widely and faces barriers to deployment.


Discouraging bioenergy:

  • Government policies that phase out the investment in new bioenergy infrastructure or make it more expensive, such as taxes on bioenergy feedstocks.

  • Public information campaigns that criticize sources of bioenergy that are not sustainable and raise public concerns about the downsides of bioenergy.

Encouraging bioenergy:

  • Government incentives and/or targets to convert land into growing feedstocks that provide the plant material and biomass needed to produce bioenergy.

  • Research, development, and investment into new technologies that can produce new forms of biofuels, and vehicles and industry that can use or support these biofuels.

  • Government policies that exempt bioenergy, regardless of feedstock, from greenhouse gas accounting frameworks designed to limit emissions.

Big Messages🔗

  • Bioenergy is not a high leverage response to climate change – while it uses a potentially renewable resource, it still emits large amounts of carbon dioxide and faces supply constraints with scale up.

  • Subsidizing bioenergy from wood increases temperature because it results in higher net CO2 emissions.

Key Dynamics🔗

Potential Co-Benefits of Discouraging Bioenergy🔗

Equity Considerations🔗

  • Land used for bioenergy crops can reduce land availability for food production and compromise food security.
  • Farmer livelihoods can be severely impacted by shifting agriculture markets, so steps should be taken to help workers and farmers transition to shifting crop demands.



Slider Settings🔗

The Bioenergy slider is divided into 5 input levels: highly taxed, taxed, status quo, subsidized, and highly subsidized. Each of the energy supply sliders (Coal, Oil, Natural Gas, Bioenergy, Nuclear, and Renewables) is set to reflect a similar percentage cost increase or decrease for each input level. The following table displays the numerical ranges for each input level of the Bioenergy slider:

highly taxed taxed status quo subsidized highly subsidized
Change in price per barrel of oil equivalent (boe) +$25 to +$15 +$15 to +$5 +$5 to -$5 -$5 to -$15 -$15 to -$25
Cost increase or decrease +60% to +30% +30% to +10% +10% to -10% -10% to -30% -30% to -60%

Model Structure🔗

  • Bioenergy sources, known as “feedstocks,” are categorized into wood, crops, and waste/other. These feedstocks can be separately subsidized or taxed. Wood feedstocks result in net CO2 emissions due to the delays in regrowing trees, while the other types of feedstocks do not result in net CO2 emissions due to their faster regeneration times (e.g., bioenergy crops are regrown within a year).
  • Subsidizing bioenergy drives more deforestation and forest degradation due to harvesting of wood as feedstock or clearing land to grow crops for bioenergy.
  • This sector tracks several stages of bioenergy installations, or energy supply capacity including: capacity under development, under construction, and actually producing energy, as well as the delays between each stage.

FAQs and Explainers🔗

Please visit support.climateinteractive.org for additional inquiries and support.

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