Economic and Environmental Model of Short Rotation Coppice (SRC) Plantations

Posza, Barnabás – Borbély, Csaba:

Keywords: sustainability, renewable energy, primary biomass, competitiveness, return on investment, Q24

The main goal of this article is to determine the economic and environmental sustainability of short rotation coppice (SRC) harvested on a two-year cycle by establishing a model based on secondary data. In general, these energy plantations are attempts to do an extensive sylvicultural work in an intensive production system while meeting the requirements of economic and environmental sustainability at the same time. Four scenarios were established based on land characteristics and production intensity. The analysis of the cumulative financial results of these hypotheses over several production cycles (a total of 15 years) shows the effect of transportations costs, yields and production methods on the return time and the effect of the time value of money on the investment. From the established model, it can be concluded that short rotation coppice plantations can meet the requirements of either economic or environmental sustainability but not both at the same time. With SRC plantations being a conditionally renewable resource, the return of annual inputs presents both a financial and an energetic risk due to the unpredictability of the production. This fact puts SRCs at a competitive disadvantage against conventional renewable energy resources.