France's Bioenergy Day
Bioenergy is Europe's leading renewable energy source. According to Eurostat data and calculations made by the European Biomass Association (AEBIOM), bioenergy will be able to supply 11% of the final energy consumption in 2017. An additional 7% comes from the other renewables, while the rest (82%) still comes from fossil fuels. Within this context, for 66 days the EU can run on renewable energies, 41 days of which are supplied by bioenergy—from November 21 to the end of the year.
For France, its Bioenergy Day is November 27, six days after the European average. An agricultural and forest nation, the country ranks fourth in the EU in terms of forest area, almost 17 million hectares (ha) according to FOREST EUROPE – the brand name of the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe, a pan-European voluntary high-level political process for dialogue and cooperation on forest policies in Europe.
EU’s second largest bioenergy consumer
Though France, like Germany, ranks just below the EU average despite Paris Agreement and Energiewende respectively, in absolute bioenergy energy consumption terms France is Europe’s second largest bioenergy consumer. According to figures from AEBIOM’s Statistical Report 2017, bioenergy consumption in France was 12.971 ktoe in 2015.
This is around 12 percent of the EU-28 total in 2015, second to Germany’s 17 percent. Of this, 9.513 ktoe was used for bioheat, placing France again second to Germany at 12 percent and 15 percent respectively.
France has emerged in recent years as a significant wood pellet producer and consumer, having surpassed 1 million tonnes in both production and consumption. Like Italy, the pellets are almost exclusively used for residential heating (93 percent of consumption) with France now (2015) the fifth largest market in the EU-28 for pellet heating.
On the heat appliance side, France is very like Italy in that it is a pellet stove market. In 2016 we expect to have reached 100 000 unit sales for the first time ever whereas pellet boiler sales remain at around 4 400 units, remarked Eric Vial, CEO for ProPellets France and Chairman of the European Pellet Council (EPC) at a pellet conference earlier this year.
Biogas and biomethane on the up and up
As an agricultural nation, biogas would seem a natural fit. Recent legislative changes regarding the use of digestate and feed-in tariff (FIT) along with interest for grid-injection of biomethane is set to rapidly increase roll-out of farm-based biogas along with biogas at biowaste treatment facilities and wastewater treatment (WWTP) plants.
According to figures from the Ministry of Environment, 506 biogas power plants were connected to the electric grid at the end of March 2017 representing an installed capacity of 399 MWe. Another 187 projects were pending, for a cumulative capacity of 87 MWe. Almost 25 percent of the biogas to power plants have a unit capacity of at least 1 MWe and represent 71 percent of the total installed power.
The biomethane injection capacity is currently around 410 GWh per annum, produced by 26 units. However, the target for the sector is to reach 137 MW installed capacity in 2018 and at least 237 MW by end of 2023.
Furthermore, bio-compressed natural gas (Bio-CNG) is to make up 20 percent of all CNG by 2023. In addition, the long-term goal is that biomethane is to reach 10 percent of all methane consumed from the gas grid by 2030.
E10 now no. 1 petrol blend
For liquid transportation fuels biodiesel and ethanol, France currently has a volume-based mandate with 7.7 percent for biodiesel and 8 percent for ethanol. According to France-headed global oil and gas major Total, the biodiesel market in France is expected to grow – from 2.6 million tonnes in 2013 to 3.1 million tonnes in 2020, which the company says could be met with domestic production.
For ethanol, E10 has recently become the top-selling gasoline blend at the pump. According to Collective du bioéthanol, E10 reached a 38.5 percent share in September 2017 whereas E85 had a 1.1 percent share.
About European Bioenergy Day
The European Bioenergy Day campaign is powered by the European Biomass Association (AEBIOM) and relayed across Europe by both national and international partners supporting the belief that bioenergy is more than a renewable energy source, but a reliable path that will lead Europe to achieve its renewable energy transition in the shortest span of time.
The campaign will last 66 days, starting from November 21 through the end of the year. This is a symbolic date on which the European Bioenergy Day was celebrated by organizing the European Bioenergy Future Conference, that was held in Brussels, Belgium on that date.