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“Profound change” needed in EU’s energy mix, says Bioenergy Europe

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Bioenergy Europe has launched the first chapter of its Statistical Report 2020 on bioelectricity, providing an in-depth analysis of bioenergy’s role in the decarbonisation of the European Union’s (EU) power grid.

According to the organisation, the EU needs strategic vision and concrete measures to support a “profound change” in member states’ energy mix. The figures show renewables account for 33% of the EU’s energy mix, of which 5.8% is generated by bioenergy. Sixty-seven percent of electricity in the EU is still generated by non-renewables such as coal, natural gas and nuclear.

Despite “substantial efforts” undertaken in recent years, the report shows that the EU’s electricity carbon footprint remains high, reaching 292 grams of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilowatt-hour of electricity generated (gCO2eq/kWh) in 2018. Bioenergy Europe says there is a major disparity among EU Member States, with many of them still well above the EU-27 average, but countries such as Poland and Estonia are “lagging”, with a carbon footprint of respectively 692 and 602 gCO2eq/kWh.

“Only a combination of advanced clean technologies – that includes bioenergy – can ensure a stable and secure supply of clean electricity,” Bioenergy Europe said in a statement. “Bioelectricity offers the advantage of complementing variable renewables, being a stable, flexible, and cost-effective source of energy.”

The organisation argues that bioelectricity is becoming increasingly efficient, with 71% electricity generated from modern combined heat and power (CHP) plants. Jean-Marc Jossart, secretary-general of Bioenergy Europe, said: “The economic recovery after the pandemic should be seen as a strategic opportunity.

“Financing instruments should be used to accelerate the decarbonisation of Europe. Bioenergy is part of the solution to phase out fossil fuels, being technically mature, economically affordable and socially fair.”