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REPowerEU Plan fails on biomass, Europe’s largest RES

REPowerEU Plan fails on biomass, Europe’s largest RES
The Swedish Bioenergy Association (Svebio) suggests that the European Commission pay a visit to Lithuania to see first-hand how the country has transitioned from Russian gas to domestic biomass and waste in district heating (photo courtesy Axis Technologies).

Responding to the European Commission's recently presented REPowerEU Plan, the Swedish Bioenergy Association (Svebio) expressed its disappointment saying that Commission, once again, is failing on Europe's largest renewable energy source (RES) demonstrating its opposition to bioenergy solutions.

This is despite the fact that bioenergy already accounts for 60 percent of all renewable energy in the EU and has the potential to rapidly replace even more fossil fuels in heating, transport, and industry.

Not least, biomass- and waste for energy can replace fossil fuels in district heating and electricity production.

The Nordic and Baltic countries have already been able to demonstrate this in practice.

The EU wants to quickly become independent of Russian fossil fuels in order to minimize the flow of money to Putin’s war. But the European Commission’s REPowerEU proposal on how this should be done has major shortcomings, says Gustav Melin, CEO of the Swedish Bioenergy Association (Svebio).

Unrealistic venture

Instead, Svebio notes that the Commission wants to make an unrealistic investment in hydrogen, a solution that is very costly and will not reduce imports of Russian gas for many years.

While the Commission has acknowledged the role of biomethane, it represents a small share of bioenergy.

Bioenergy is mentioned in a single paragraph of the Commission’s REPowerEU Plan, hydrogen is mentioned 45 times in the document.

Lithuania is a role model

While district heating is mentioned in the document, nothing about the renewable fuels that can be used to replace fossil fuels used in district heating is.

Instead, the Commission highlights a “doubling of the rate of deployment of heat pumps, and measures to integrate geothermal and solar thermal energy in modernized district and communal heating systems.”

Lithuania has led the way when it comes to fuel transition in district heating.

In recent years, the country has replaced virtually all imported Russian gas with its own biomass and taken advantage of its waste for energy recovery. The transition has resulted in energy independence, lower energy prices, and ten thousand new jobs.

With bioenergy, Lithuania has been able to say stop to all Russian gas thanks to this strategic change. The European Commission ought to go to Vilnius and study this good example, the statement said.

Bioenergy transition underway

Fortunately, the development will not be as the European Commission believes says Svebio.

High prices for coal, natural gas, electricity, and emission allowances are already making bioenergy the main option, and lots of conversions from fossil fuels to bioenergy are in full swing.

According to Svebio, the demand for woodchips, pellets, and other biofuels is now very high, as is the demand for bioenergy technology.

Gustav Melin, CEO of the Swedish Bioenergy Association
“Market players are looking for functional and cost-effective renewable energy solutions that are available here and now. Bioenergy is one such proven source,” says Gustav Melin, CEO of the Swedish Bioenergy Association (Svebio).

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