Open letter: ‘Let bioenergy make a decisive contribution’

In anticipation of the REPowerEU Communicationmore than 500 companies of the bioenergy value-chain have written to the European Commission president Von der Leyen, vice-president Timmermans, and commissioners Simson and Breton calling for a holistic approach in defining the way forward to end energy dependence on Russian gas.

The letter represents a determined reaction from the sector following the mid-March REPowerEU proposal which completely overlooks sustainable bioenergy as part of the solutions to effectively eliminating EU’s dependence on Russian gas before 2030. This ill-fated lack of vision goes against biomass’s indisputable role in fostering RES penetration and achieving net-zero economy by 2050 as recently confirmed by the IPCC ,the IEA as well as scientists from IEA Bioenergy.

CEOs and high-level representatives of the European bioenergy and biofuel value-chain, most of which are SMEs and family-owned businesses, urge EU leaders to rethink their plan and include biomass, a readily available solution, among the answers to current energy security and energy price crisis.

In the letter, the companies write: “We are concerned by the lack of vision within the REPowerEU proposals from the EU Commission that do not include solutions that can offer a quick reduction of [Russian gas dependence], such as an array of bioenergy applications, waste for energy, and district heating.”

To stress the current and future role of bioenergy for the society at large, the signatories said: “The European bioenergy sector is a global leader in renewable technologies with more than 800.000 jobs and 50.000+ companies across the value chain”.

Furthermore, the letter highlights how “bioenergy is readily available and can be deployed quickly, often at a low cost. For example, in district heating, switching from fossil fuels to biomass and waste has reduced costs and emissions in many countries. For residential and commercial buildings, pellet; briquettes, or wood chip heating offers a clean and efficient alternative to gas and oil.”

“Bioenergy, which has legally binding sustainability criteria in place […], in addition to addressing our energy security, […] can also deliver on our climate goals, which is not the case for all options on the table”.

“European policymakers cannot be doubtful about the role that bioenergy plays. We, the leaders of the bioenergy industry and utilities in Europe, call on our political leaders to allow us to contribute. Together, we can foster the use of sustainable bioenergy in Europe to replace imported coal, oil and gas and ensure a renewable energy mix” the letter concludes.

Jean-Marc Jossart, Bioenergy Europe’s Secretary General, said: “This unprecedented call by the bioenergy sector sends a strong signal to the European Commission. There are serious discrepancies between the objectives set by the EC and the way they define the strategies to achieve them. It is inexplicable to see such renunciation of the role of sustainable bioenergy in reducing EU’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels import. The market actors are startled by the lack of vision demonstrated with the presentation of the REPowerEU strategy in mid-May. Beyond Europe’s energy stability and security, the EU needs bioenergy to achieve its own long-term environmental and energy objectives.”

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