The US Industrial Pellet Association (USIPA) has welcomed the European Commission’s proposal to accelerate the EU’s transition to a climate-neutral economy.
Over the past 10 years, sustainable biomass has displaced millions of tonnes of coal in Europe and will play a critical role in helping achieve the EU’s 2030 climate goals, according to USIPA.
The Commission’s plan calls for a series of ambitious new climate targets to be met by 2030 on the path to achieving climate neutrality by 2050. USIPA says sustainable biomass is poised to make significant contributions to several of these, including reducing the bloc’s greenhouse gas emissions by 55% compared to 1990 levels; increasing its share of renewable energy to 38-40%, and decreasing coal and gas consumption by 70% and 25% respectively compared to 2015 levels.
USIPA commented: “As its largest single source of renewable energy, sustainable biomass is a cornerstone of the EU’s low-carbon energy transition.
“We welcome the Commission’s recognition that, in order to meet its ambitious targets for 2030 and 2050, the EU will need more sustainable biomass to balance the grid and support a massive expansion of intermittent renewables like wind and solar.
“Sustainability is paramount to ensuring biomass delivers tangible benefits for the climate. US producers are leading in this area, thanks to our ability to provide substantial quantities of renewable fuel to EU Member States while supporting healthy forests and protecting biodiversity.
“The fact that forest inventory and carbon stocks are higher in our source forests today than when the industry began a decade ago underscores our ability to operate sustainably. It further shows that current practices and regulations with respect to using only low-value feedstocks results in more forests, not less.”
“When it comes to guaranteeing biomass sustainability, the renewable energy directive (RED II) introduced “strict, harmonised, union-wide sustainability criteria” which, together with risk-based forestry certification schemes, underpin the sustainability of biomass produced by our members.
“Therefore, we do not believe additional measures are needed in order to minimise the use of so-called ‘whole trees’, indeed these could be counter-productive. The sustainability requirements currently in place, as well as the market forces at the forest level, ensure that our biomass is sustainable.
“We look forward to continued dialogue and working with our partners and EU leaders to ensure a stable supply of low-carbon energy that displaces fossil fuels, preserves our forests in the US Southeast and helps the EU achieve newly proposed 2030 climate targets.”