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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Barriers and opportunities for bioenergy expansion in Chinese rural areas

Xu, Xiaoqian; Liu, Guangzhe; Mola-Yudego, Blas;


Bioenergy can contribute to the development of a more sustainable environmental friendly alternative in rural areas in China. The perceptions, preferences and awareness concerning bioenergy among farmers are assessed in a systematic study of 594 Chinese farmers in 33 towns in the province of Shaanxi, using a generalized mixed model approach. In addition to the farmer's background and socio-economic variables, the spatial varia-tion in the perceptions is addressed by mapping the residual between-county variation. The overall awareness of bioenergy as a viable alternative is still low (N = 80). Education and preferences on centralized heating sys-tems play the most important role to explain the willingness to use biomass for domestic use or bioenergy from power plants. Users of large amounts of coal and electricity for heating increase the willingness to pay for bioenergy; users of firewood and raw residues are less prone to change their current energy uses. Nearly 75 % of farmers see bioenergy as a promising alternative to current consumption and production patterns of energy. The results show that not only the farmer's profile but the local context concerning energy mix, land uses and socio-economic factors are influencing their views, presenting defined spatial patterns and reflecting local geog-raphies. Over one-third of respondents provide spontaneous recommendations to develop bioenergy markets. The results contribute to a better understanding of farmers' motivations, perceptions and views concerning en-ergy uses, and can be used as an empirical basis for local energy planning towards a more sustainable energy transition in rural areas. (c) 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. on behalf of International Energy Initiative. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (


Awareness; China; Energy transition; Local communities; Perceptions; Sustainability

Published in

Energy for Sustainable Development

2022, volume: 70, pages: 181-193
Publisher: ELSEVIER

Authors' information

Xu, Xiaoqian
University of Eastern Finland
Xu, Xiaoqian
Northwest AandF University - China
Liu, Guangzhe
Northwest AandF University - China
University of Eastern Finland
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Crop Production Ecology

UKÄ Subject classification

Renewable Bioenergy Research
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

Publication Identifiers


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