Bioenergy Europe has welcomed the EU Strategy for Energy System Integration and the European Commission’s continued commitment to foster the EU’s path to decarbonisation.
In a statement, the Commission said the strategy refers to the planning and operating of the energy system as a whole across multiple energy carriers, infrastructures, and 'consumption' sectors. The plan will create stronger links between them to deliver low-carbon, reliable and resource-efficient energy services, at the "least possible cost" for society.
In its response, Bioenergy Europe said the Commission rightly stated that “we are still far from where we need to be by 2050”, with electricity and heating generation "still heavily reliant on fossil fuels”. The group said that through fast-tracking renewable energy deployment and the phasing out of fossil fuels, Europe can deliver on this essential energy transition.
Heating, which is responsible for nearly half of EU energy consumption and 36% of its emissions, is by no means a localised issue, according to Bioenergy Europe, and its decarbonisation should be prioritised. The organisation said while electrification is one of the tools available, it should not become the objective. “The renovation wave should facilitate the roll-out of renewable heat in the building sector and up-skilling installers,” said Bioenergy Europe.
“The industry stresses that technological neutrality should be a guiding principle for any action aimed at increasing the share of RES in the heating system and development of modern district heating systems.”
The organisation said the Commission’s strategy “rightly acknowledges” the role of biogas, biomethane and biofuels in accelerating the decarbonisation of key sectors such as transport, including maritime and aviation. It also welcomed the recognition of the role of farmers in the energy transition and the need to incentivise this key sector, adding: “Clear reference to the mobilisation of sustainable agricultural biomass residues for energy is necessary to untap its potential as it brings substantial environmental and socioeconomic benefits.
“Biomass residues-use reduces the heating bill for end-users, creates additional revenue streams for farmers and rural areas, and contributes to cohesive territorial development.”
Jean-Marc Jossart, secretary-general of Bioenergy Europe, commented: “A more resource-efficient Europe based on an ever-growing share of RES is primordial to achieve in this ambitious strategy.
“An integrated energy system will certainly foster the energy transition, but we should not lose our focus and accompany any effort to develop and deploy new solutions with existing, readily available ones, such as bioenergy.”