Brussels, 13/06/2019 –  As climate change makes daily headlines, all available solutions to mitigate it must be thoroughly investigated and then deployed in an evidence-based way, fair to our environment and societies.

Figures show that RES consumption has steadily increased over the last decades, with bioenergy counting today for 63% of EU final renewable energy consumption. The time has come to take a step forward and use all means to achieve the 2050 climate goals.

Biomass is supplied from different organic sources such as wood, agricultural residues and crops, and organic waste. Around 70% of the overall biomass supply for energy is estimated to be sourced from the forest sector while biomass from agriculture and waste account respectively for 18% and 12%. There are climate benefits to biomass, and then more: the economic and environmental impacts are plenty and often overlooked.

AGRICULTURAL BIOMASS AND ABANDONED AREAS

In the current state of play, the potential of agricultural biomass is largely unexploited due to mobilization issues. Recent research shows how the overall energy contribution of bioenergy could sustainably triplicate by 2050 compared to the 144 Mtoe used in 2017, roughly equivalent to the total energy demand in Spain for the same year. Agricultural residues and crops can have a major role in driving this growth in the coming years if properly exploited.

We also have an opportunity with unused and abandoned areas, representing 15,8% of total land in EU28: they could be used to grow energy crops. It is estimated that the land used to grow dedicated energy crops represents today only an area of 117 kha (i.e. around 0,03% of EU28 land area), and equal to 0,2% of the current unused and abandoned areas. By using these areas for energy crops, the production of bioenergy could be ramped up.

To unleash this potential, favorable legislative frameworks should be deployed. This will contribute to climate mitigation and adaptation as well as to job growth and rural development.

FOREST BIOMASS

In the last two decades the forest area is increasing and most importantly, the annual growth of forest is consistently higher than the harvesting. In fact, more than 30% of the forest increment stays in the forest, with the pulp & paper and construction industries driving the largest chunk of wood removals in Europe (77%) and bioenergy following at a mere 23%.

Forests, endangered by climate change, have a key role in climate mitigation and adaptation. Proper forest management can lead to environmental, economic and social benefits, and slash the risk of forest fires and diseases.

  • Contacts

    Martin Colla
    Market Intelligence Officer
    Bioenergy Europe
    colla@bioenergyeurope.org
    Nino Aveni
    Senior Communications Advisor
    Bioenergy Europe
    aveni@bioenergyeurope.org
  • Statistical Report 2019

    For the first time since its launch in 2007, the 2019 Statistical Report will be split in 7 different publications, each one covering a different aspect of bioenergy. Check out our other chapters and discover the role and potential of bioenergy across the different sectors. 

    Read more
  • PR: Why our Forests and Fields Should do More for Climate Change
    12-08-2019
    52 KB 13 downloads

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