European Commission director urges bioenergy sector to seize low-carbon economy opportunities

The bioenergy sector should seize the opportunity to contribute more to the heating and cooling industries to help drive Europe towards a low-carbon economy, said Marie Donnelly, director for renewables at the European Commission.

Her comments were made at the European Biogas Association’s conference in Ghent, Belgium. She also warned that the bioenergy sector needed to make biogas and biomethane “more visible” in the low-carbon economy.

Speaking to Bioenergy Insight at the sidelines of the conference, Donnelly said: “Bioenergy, biogas and biomethane are clearly solutions that are relevant for our decarbonisation agenda. They are particularly relevant in areas such as heating and cooling, which uses around 50% of our (EU) energy today. Bioenergy’s role here is hugely important.

“Bioenergy also has a significant role in transport. Transport takes up about one third of our energy consumption. Bioenergy is also relevant to the electricity sector where it is already playing an important role.”

Donnelly said she saw bioenergy contributing to Europe’s renewable energy agenda for the long-term. 

She added: “I think it is absolutely essential that we get our sustainability criteria clear, in place and operating successfully. I think we should also assuage any concerns that stakeholders or NGOs have over the sustainability criteria. We should also bring on investments and support those investments. That will be needed to deliver the ultimate volumes we will need.”

Elsewhere, during her presentation at the conference, Donnelly said that agricultural and organic waste had a significant role to play in bioenergy’s long-term future. She also said that a Renewables Directive was due out by the end of the year and bioenergy would feature prominently in it.

This story was written by Liz Gyekye, editor at Bioenergy Insight 

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