REDII sets 80% GHG savings target for bioenergy

The European Parliament, Commission and Council have reached a preliminary agreement on the new Renewable Energy Directive (REDII). The deal sets out a path for Europe’s renewable energy sector post 2020.

As part of the new legislation, European-wide sustainability criteria have been adopted for solid biomass. Bioenergy will be accounted towards overall renewable energy targets, provided it meets sustainability and greenhouse gas emission savings criteria.

Bioenergy will need to meet 80% greenhouse gas emission savings compared to fossil fuels in 2026. For electricity-only installations, only best-available technology will be able to get supports.

The new REDII provides additional criteria in case of land use change for agricultural biomass. For forest biomass, sustainability criteria are in place and enforced at national level. If this isn’t the case, sustainability criteria have to be ensured at sourcing area level.

A number of exemptions have been installed to the sustainability standards. For waste and industrial residues, only greenhouse gas criteria apply while soil quality for agricultural land is to be monitored. Installations below 20MW (solid biomass fuels) or 2MW (gaseous biomass fuels) are also exempt unless Member States decide otherwise.

AEBIOM, the European Biomass Association, has responded to the announcement, lauding REDII’s ‘constructive’ approach to biomass sustainability while noting that the compromise falls short ‘on creating a level playing field for sustainability criteria.’

“You will always find people to complain about the criteria. But for the first time the European legislators gives a sustainability roadmap to the solid bioenergy sector. Despite controversy, policy makers decided to take a challenging but pragmatic approach considering field realities.” explained Jean-Marc Jossart, AEBIOM Secretary-General.

To coincide with the REDII announcement, AEBIOM have also released an infographic detailing the areas of the REDII agreement affecting the bioenergy sector.

Policy makers came to an agreement on the new legislation in the early hours of 14 June in Strasbourg. The agreement reached in the trialogue negotiations still needs to be approved by the European Parliament and the European Council.

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