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Bioenergy Europe welcomes Commission's Strategy for Energy System Integration proposal

Bioenergy Europe welcomes the European Commission proposal on the Strategy for Energy System Integration and the Commission’s continued commitment to foster the EU’s path to decarbonisation. As stated in the strategy, ‘we are still far from where we need to be by 2050’, with electricity and heating generation still heavily reliant on fossil fuels. However, through fast-tracking renewable energy deployment and fossil fuels phase-out, Europe can deliver on this much-needed energy transition.

Bioenergy Europe welcomes the European Commission proposal on the Strategy for Energy System Integration and the Commission’s continued commitment to foster the EU’s path to decarbonisation. However, its decarbonization should be prioritized; achieving a more integrated energy infrastructure through the development of renewable-based district heating but equally, keeping in mind that while electrification is one of the tools available, it should not become the objective.

Released on July 8, 2020, the European Commission proposal on the Strategy for Energy System Integration lays out a vision of a circular, decentralized energy system supported by high shares of electrification, coupled with the further deployment of renewable and low-carbon gas and other fuels.

In the context of heating – responsible for half of EU energy consumption and 36 percent of its emissions – the issue is by no means localized. According to Bioenergy Europe, its decarbonization should be prioritized; achieving a more integrated energy infrastructure through the development of renewable-based district heating but equally, keeping in mind that while electrification is one of the tools available, it should not become the objective.

The Renovation Wave should facilitate the roll-out of renewable heat in the building sector and upskilling installers. The industry stresses that technological neutrality should be a guiding principle for any action aimed at increasing the share of renewable energy sources (RES) in the heating system and development of modern district heating systems.

Farmers have a key role

According to Bioenergy Europe, the strategy rightly acknowledges the role of biogas, biomethane, and biofuels in accelerating the decarbonization of key sectors such as transport including maritime and aviation. Concrete actions and targeted support schemes to accelerate the development of the market for these solutions should be fully supported.

Furthermore, the bioenergy industry welcomes the recognition of the role of farmers in the energy transition and the need to incentivize this key sector. A clear reference to the greater mobilisation of sustainable agricultural biomass residues for energy is necessary to tap into its potential as it brings substantial environmental and socio-economic benefits.

Biomass residues-use reduces the heating bill for end-users, creates additional streams of revenues for farmers and rural areas, and contributes to cohesive territorial development. It offers a readily available solution to cut the emissions from, and lessen the dependence on fossil fuels, while simultaneously fostering a circular economy model.

Set more ambitious targets and enable BECCS

More broadly, Bioenergy Europe encourages the EC to set ambitious targets for the mobilisation of biological waste and residues from agriculture, food, and forestry and to create generous support mechanisms within Common Agriculture Policy (CAP), Structural Funds, and the new LIFE programme.

C-Capture, the designer of chemical processes for carbon dioxide (CO2) removal, has raised GBP 3.5 million (≈ EUR 3.9 million) in new equity funding in a round led by BP Ventures, Drax, and IP Group. The company is conducting a bioenergy carbon capture and storage (BECCS) demonstration project at Drax Power in the UK (photo courtesy Drax).

C-Capture, the designer of chemical processes for carbon dioxide (CO2) removal, has a bioenergy and carbon capture and storage (BECCS) project at Drax Power Station in the UK (photo courtesy Drax).

Finally, enabling both carbon capture and storage, and use would be a key step in the road to decarbonization, with the certification of carbon removals being a much-needed incentive for the uptake of these technologies.

Bioenergy Europe stresses that Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) is the most mature Negative Emission Technology and allows for the production of clean energy coupled with the permanent capture of carbon dioxide (CO2) gas removals.

A more resource-efficient Europe based on an ever-growing share of RES is primordial to achieve in this ambitious strategy. An integrated energy system will certainly foster the energy transition, but we should not lose our focus and accompany any effort to develop and deploy new solutions with existing, readily available ones such as bioenergy, said Jean-Marc Jossart, Secretary-General, Bioenergy Europe.

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