Bioenergy among most cost effective options in Europe’s energy transition

Findings from AEBIOM, the European biomass association, confirm that bioenergy is among the most effective options to achieve Europe’s clean energy transition.

AEBIOM published its 2017 Statistical Report on 17 October, shortly before the European Parliament’s ENVI Committee is set to vote on sustainability criteria for bioenergy. According to a statement from AEBIOM, the report brings “clarity to a debate that has been highly misrepresented.”

The association argues that debates in ENVI have revived misleading arguments and statements "which run counter to the evidence." In particular, AEBIOM claims that the current discussions are focused too heavily on biomass imports from outside the EU, with bioenergy only representing 1% of total EU energy imports and 4.4% of total biomass used for energy.

"We will miss the point if the final decision on sustainability is made only depending on biomass imports," said AEBIOM secretary general Jean-Marc Roassart.

"95% of the biomass consumed today is locally sourced in the EU. In order to address the energy security issue seriously, sustainability criteria should allow bioenergy to keep playing its role, regardless of where it is sourced provided it is sustainably sourced and delivering carbon savings."


Improving forest management

AEBIOM’s report also found that European forests are not managed solely for energy purposes. The share of wood harvested in EU forests which is used in the energy sector has been rather stable (20% on average since 2000), while bioenergy consumption has more than doubled over the same period of time.

European forests are actually expanding, the report states, and a lack of active management is actually becoming a problem which could potentially cause epidemics and forest fires to increase. AEBIOM argues that bioenergy represents an incentive for public and private forest owners alike to revitalise their forests through better management.


Bioenergy still vital to decarbonisation

Significantly, the report concludes that bioenergy will continue to be a key driver in the decarbonisation of the heating and cooling sector. It points out that with bioenergy representing about 90% of renewables, it is among the most effective solutions for driving the green energy transition.

“While current EU discussions on the EU’s sustainability criteria tend to be focused on the biopower sector which is already delivering significant benefits in some Member States, the renewable heating and cooling sector tends to be forgotten. However, this sector is the unsung hero with a formidable workload. The coming EU criteria should not hamper the development of this sector based on political calculations rather than fact-based evidence” stated Didzis Paleijs, AEBIOM’s President.

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