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Time to move to a resilient and affordable European energy block

The REPowerEU: Joint European Action for more affordable, secure, and sustainable energy sends a strong signal as energy prices soar across Europe and provide incentives to increase the pace of decarbonization. In a statement, Bioenergy Europe strongly condemns the Russian invasion of Ukraine and welcomes the vision of the Commission to accelerate the deployment of renewables while ensuring the affordability and security of EU energy supply by decreasing fossil gas imports from Russia.

The international bioenergy community is “utterly shocked” by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and extends its thoughts and support to those afflicted by this tragedy. Sergiy Savchuk (left) former Chairman of State Agency on Energy Efficiency and Energy Saving of Ukraine (SAEE) with a colleague who attended the 2017 Nordic Baltic Bioenergy conference in Finland.

According to Bioenergy Europe, it is time to break with the structural instability and move to a resilient and affordable European energy block. The post-pandemic recovery and current geopolitical instability in Europe “remind us that more concrete efforts must be pursued to accelerate the penetration of renewable energy.”

We are utterly shocked by the recent events and our thoughts are with the children, women, and men affected by this tragedy. We extend our support to our friends and colleagues at the Bioenergy Association of Ukraine (UABIO). We welcome the EU’s measures to reduce energy dependency on imported fossil fuels from Russia. This conflict is a wake-up call. We need a paradigm shift in the way we think of our energy policy. Biomass will play a major role in unlocking the potential of renewables as well as ensuring a resilient and independent European energy system, the statment said.

Bioenergy Europe reiterates the key contribution of biomass in achieving the EU’s objectives and reducing and eventually terminating Europe’s overdependence on Russian fossil fuels well before 2030, in line with the European Commission’s proposed REPowerEU outline plan presented on March 8, 2022.

It is a matter of urgency to stop funding Putin’s regime, which openly undermines the energy security of Europe.

Europe must now finally take control of its full renewable energy potential. With appropriate incentives, existing bioenergy plants could reach this and generate up to 50 TWh more renewable electricity in 2022, as recognized by the IEA’s latest report. It is in these very uncertain moments that Europe must be capable of mobilizing all sustainable bio-based feedstocks with coherent legislation and by ending artificial constraints, stressed Hannes Tuohiniitty, President of Bioenergy Europe.

Bioenergy a renewable energy driver

Bioenergy is driving the ramp-up of renewable energy, offering reliable and affordable solutions fit to deliver on the EU objective to reach a climate-neutral economy by 2050.

Concretely, sustainable bioenergy already provides 16 percent of the final energy in the heating sector and 14 percent of the final energy for industry, being by far the largest renewable source in both segments. It can alleviate the impact on the energy bills of vulnerable consumers whilst guaranteeing the competitiveness of the European industry.

I strongly believe that all renewable sources have a role to play in this epochal change. However, the EU must now send a strong signal and stop hesitating on bioenergy’s concrete contribution. Despite the uncertainties of the past months, biomass continues to be a strong asset for the EU with its prices remaining relatively stable. Swift implementation of existing solutions must be fostered to reassure short-term perspectives and to provide an affordable and renewable-based energy system, said Jean-Marc Jossart Secretary-General, Bioenergy Europe.

Considering the current events in Ukraine, the question is how Europe will cope with future high peak energy demand seasons. As a readily available source, sustainable bioenergy must be included among the key solutions to ease the pressure on the EU Member States and mitigate energy stability threats.

However, in the first semester of 2021, Europe depended on 24.7 percent on oil and 46.8 percent on gas imported from Russia posing a major challenge, including to the EU’s current infrastructure and value chains.

Europe must act united and tackle this energy crisis in a structural way to ensure the operationalization of a resilient, affordable, and independent European energy system.

Europe can no longer wait to step up its efforts for the decarbonization of industries and residential heat demands. Energy prices will keep rising and their volatility will become structural impacting the EU’s transition and the energy bills of European consumers. This action plan is very timely as now is the moment to act and fully support sustainable bioenergy which can replace natural gas usage in the particularly sensitive heating sector, ended Irene di Padua, Policy Director at Bioenergy Europe.

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