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Forest Smart Brief on Energy

Mainstreaming Wood and Forests to Help Deliver Energy Access for All


The U.N. General Assembly declared 2012 as the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All, and set important targets for energy access, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. Accelerating the deployment of renewable energy sources to meet energy access targets is highly dependent on effective management of the environmental and natural resource base, especially the forestry and associated landscape sector. However, incorporating environmental considerations into energy decisions has been slow and is often hampered by insufficient or unreliable data, and weak analytical understanding of the relationships and inter-linkages between energy production and environmental management. Better data, validated evidence, awareness raising, and capacity building are basic aspects that need to be elevated for informed decision making in the renewable energy sector.


This activity aims to address the broader renewable energy and environment nexus through selected analytical and capacity-building work on two pillars: biomass energy and geothermal development.

  1. The work on biomass energy will involve advancing global knowledge on the use and impacts of biomass energy on natural resources and management. The team will target improving data collection and analysis of selected key areas, such as: the role of urbanization in biomass energy demand and its impact on forest resource management; households’ energy behavior and energy choice for cooking; and a review of the use of and available technology for (forest) biomass energy for mini-grid and off-grid power systems.
  2. The geothermal pillar supports “beyond safeguards” solutions aiming at establishing reciprocal benefit mechanisms for forests and energy systems.

This program will develop diagnostic tools and best practice guidance for geothermal development in forest areas of Indonesia, and biomass energy development for household energy use and power generation in Haiti.


This activity is ongoing. However, below are some completed results that will be packaged in a format conducive to raising awareness and sharing lessons learned.

Completed activities under the biomass pillar include the following:

  1. Publication of a report analyzing the history of landscape management approaches in Haiti. Additional analytical work has already been initiated in close collaboration with local partners, but is currently delayed due to Hurricane Matthew and the associated impacts. 
  2. In partnership with the Sustainable Biomass Partnership, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and The Forest Dialogue, a scoping dialogue on Sustainable Woody Biomass for Energy was organized in July 2016.  This dialogue brought together stakeholders and experts from business, civil society, government, research and development institutions – all with a common focus on the challenges and opportunities associated with expanding wood energy use. 
  3. Activities contributed to analytical work on wood energy in Europe and Central Asia led by UNECE.  As UNECE is taking a leading role in wood-energy data collection in its mandated region (i.e. development of standard survey protocols with IRENA), the collaboration with UNECE is anticipated to be deepened as the program progresses.

Completed activities under the geothermal pillar include the following:

A major activity in Indonesia is underway, which is embedded in the World Bank’s development policy lending and energy investment activities. The activity is linked to an ongoing policy reform process and aims at facilitating reciprocal benefit solutions to unlock geothermal investments.  While the operational implementation of the activity is limited to Indonesia, a strong link has been established to the broader geothermal portfolio of the Bank, especially the Latin America region, where similar forest-geothermal conflicts exist and create a stumbling block to accelerate renewable energy roll-out.

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Last Updated : 10-05-2017