New Bioenergy Europe stats highlight the importance of bioenergy within the REDII
Three days after the approval of the Renewable Energy Directive (REDII) by the European Parliament, the EU’s largest legal effort to promote renewable energy across Member States towards 2030, Bioenergy Europe (previously known as AEBIOM) released its annual compilation of updated statistics to help understand the relevance of bioenergy within the directive and beyond. It makes for a chilling "must read".
Launched in Hanover, Germany during the European Bioenergy Future 2018 conference held in conjunction EnergyDecentral, the report highlights that 83 percent of the energy that Europeans consume comes from fossil sources that are largely imported.
This fact alone presents the European Union (EU) with enormous environmental and economical challenges on its ambition to be net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Half of the EU’s energy consumption is in heating and cooling
As Bioenergy Europe notes, the recent approval by the European Parliament of the Renewable Energy Directive (REDII) takes the right steps towards 2050, putting a stronger emphasis on the heating and cooling sector.
However, as highlighted by Cristina Calderón, Market Intelligence Director at Bioenergy Europe during her presentation, 81 percent of the heat for European households, public buildings and factories is still produced using fossil fuels. Households are in dire need for change: 76 percent of residential heating needs are still covered by fossil fuels.
Up to now, the “Brussels bubble” has focused most of its attention on greening electricity. According to Bioenergy Europe, efforts to inject more renewables in the production of electricity must be coupled with at least as much determination in decarbonising heating and cooling: while the renewable share in electricity production is 30 percent, the one for heat is lagging with a mere 20 percent.
Direct heat technologies such as modern, efficient biomass-powered stoves and boilers, as well as district heating (DH) networks are already part of the solution – 87 percent of renewable heat is produced from biomass and should be further promoted.
European forests grow the size of a soccer pitch – by the minute
The directive also takes measures to make sure bioenergy is produced within a sustainable framework. The safe, legal supply of wood foreseen within these measures will guarantee an adequate regeneration of forests and preserve or improve their production capacity.
These measures build on forest conditions that are already encouraging: Bioenergy Europe’s report highlights how the EU-28 forests have been growing at a rate of a football field per minute, amounting to a total forest stock increase of 32 percent over the last quarter of a century.
Moreover, while the consumption of bioenergy has doubled since 2000, the proportion of wood removals used for energy, increased by a mere total of 4 percent in the last 16 years versus industrial uses has been steady on 1 to 5, further “proof” that contrary to what is portrayed by various bioenergy detractors, European forests are not managed specifically for energy purposes.
This suggests a properly functioning forest feedstock market in which payment capacity is the cascading mechanism rather then a specific end-use regulation.
Check it out yourself – for free
A new and welcome for this year is that Bioenergy Europe’s Statistical Report is available and distributed free of charge.