AEBIOM publish Statistical Report 2016
Bioenergy is expected to contribute to half of the European Union’s (EU) 20 percent Renewable Energy Sources (RES) by 2020 target. In 2014, bioenergy alone accounted for 10 percent of the gross final consumption of energy in Europe.
Bioenergy is the only renewable energy source able to provide green fuel for the three energy applications: heating and cooling, power generation and transport applications. According to the key findings of a report “AEBIOM Statistical Report 2016” published today by the European Biomass Association (AEBIOM), bioenergy accounted for 10 percent (107.212 ktoe) of the gross final consumption of energy in Europe in 2014. It is also the largest renewable representing 61 percent of all renewable energy consumed. Furthermore, EU-28 gross final energy consumption in the EU-28 has decreased by 17 percent over the 2004 – 2014 period. However from an energy security of supply perspective, the bloc still ranks amongst the regions with the highest energy dependency at 53 percent.
Heating and cooling underestimated
The brief also points out that renewable energy is often associated with power generation and transport yet bioenergy is the only renewable energy source able to provide green fuel for the three energy applications: heating and cooling, power generation and transport applications. Energy consumption in the heating and cooling (H&C) sector remains significantly underestimated, showing great room for improvement and potential for renewables.
H&C accounts for around 50 percent of total energy consumption in the EU with 82 percent of this consumption being met using fossil fuels. Thus renewables are becoming a key priority for EU policy, in buildings specifically. With an 88 percent share bioenergy is currently the leading renewable in heating and cooling. Alone bioenergy represents 10 percent of European gross final consumption of energy.
Traditionally, the electricity market has been more closely addressed by European regulations, enabling renewables to make up 27 percent of the market share. Wind, hydro and photovoltaic are leading the transition in the sector while bioenergy represents 5 percent of the overall EU generation (14.258 ktoe).
Virtual energy – double counting exacerbated by ILUC
The transport sector has always been the most challenging for renewables in terms of market penetration. Renewables represent 5 percent of EU total energy consumption (14.669 ktoe) in transport, 90 percent of which is provided by biofuels. The brief cautions that EU statistics on renewables in transport can be misleading regarding the actual production. This is due to multiple counting rules applied in accordance to the Renewable Energy Sources Directive (RED), which according to the brief, artificially increase the share by 0,9 percentage points, from 5 percent to 5.9 percent.
EU legislation such as the Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) Directive, from September 2015, has established a quota for first generation biofuels. The ILUC Directive has further developed this logic, by applying even greater multiplication factor methodology in favour of the use of waste, by-products and electricity, giving a distorted vision of the actual market situation. The resulting “virtual energy” leads to an overestimation, as it does not reflect the real amount of fossil fuel replaced by RES in transport.
Heat and power 2020 targets can be reached
In 2014, bioenergy consumption reached 105 489 ktoe which is more than double the consumption in 2000. This increase is equivalent to the annual coal consumption in the industry, residential and services sectors together. According to Member States’ projections , by 2020, almost 140 000 ktoe are expected to be consumed yearly, which would imply a growth of 32 percent when compared to 2014. Going into the detail of each market segment, aggregated Member States’ projections are expecting an increase of 16,9% for heat by 2020. For electricity, the expected growth reaches 38 percent by 2020. Finally, transport is expected to grow by 105 percent by 2020. These projections were provided by Member States in 2010 and were indicative.
According to AEBIOM, while the projections for heat and electricity can be reached, this is likely not the case for transport. It is also clear that bioenergy will keep playing a major role in reaching EU climate change objectives of 80-95 percent GHG emissions reductions by 2050 and will help the EU-28 to fulfil its COP21 commitments.