Significant Contribution of Energy Crops to Heat and Electricity Needs in Great Britain to 2050

Shifeng Wang, Sicong Wang, Andrew Lovett, Jun Zhong, Gail Taylor, Sylvain Leduc, Steven Firth, Pete Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The paper estimates the potential contribution of Miscanthus × giganteus (Miscanthus) and short rotation coppice (SRC; in Great Britain often willow and poplar species, e.g. Salix. viminalis L. x S. viminalis var Joruun) to the heat and electricity needs in Great Britain to 2050 under climate change, using a model system which is composed of a partial equilibrium model and two process-based terrestrial biogeochemistry models. If the whole available area of land suitable for Miscanthus and SRC of 8 Mha is considered, results show that the contribution of Miscanthus and SRC to the heat and electricity supply would be significant. Under the projected climate and an imposed energy policy to 2050, the potential contribution would range from 139, 291 GWh to 230, 605 GWh for heat and from 112, 481 GWh to 127, 868 GWh for electricity by 2050. This would provide over 60 % of total heat and electricity needs in Great Britain. Using realistic implementation scenarios on just 0.4 Mha of land, Miscanthus and SRC could still contribute more than 5 % of heat and electricity needs in Great Britain. We conclude that Miscanthus and SRC have the potential to form part of a diverse renewable energy portfolio for Great Britain. In addition to climate and energy policy, the contribution of Miscanthus and SRC to heat and electricity will be impacted by the efficiency of combined heat and power (CHP) and alternative energy crops, and the area of land eventually used for dedicated bioenergy crops.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)919-926
Number of pages8
JournalBioenergy Research
Publication statusPublished - 4 Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments This research formed part of the programme of the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) and was supported by the UK Research Councils under Natural Environment Research Council award: “Spatial Mapping and Evaluation of Energy Crop Distribution in Great Britain to 2050” (NE/H013415/1). We would like to thank Astley Hastings and Eric Casella for providing data and their useful help. PS is a Royal Society-Wolfson Research Merit Award holder.

Copyright 2014 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • CHP
  • Climate change
  • Electricity
  • Energy crops
  • Energy policy
  • Energy system
  • Heat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Energy (miscellaneous)


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