10/10 | AEBIOM position on European Energy issues and the development of Bioenergy towards 2030

Brussels, 12 October 2010. The European Biomass Association publishes the position paper on Bioenergy development until 2030 where it provides a pragmatic solution on how to combat the energy poverty in the future.

Read the full document in pdf version [HERE]

This AEBIOM paper focuses on the development of the bioenergy sector until 2030 and explains the position of AEBIOM on a few important energy issues such as sustainability, efficiency, energy poverty, the future of residential heating, Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and C02 taxation.

At present, bioenergy with over 100 Mtoe covers more than 60% of all RES and has a potential to provide 300 Mtoe of gross inland energy consumption by 2030. This quantity coming from solid, liquid and gaseous biomass should also in the future be used for the supply of heat, electricity and transportation fuels (first and second generation transportation fuels and biomethane).

In order to exploit this potential, it is necessary to follow certain principles of biomass deployment and introduce appropiate policies that would help to ensure these principles and increase the production of biomass.

One important principle of the biomass use is related to conversion efficiency. It is implied that the bioenergy chains with high conversion efficiency should be favored, whenever it is possbile.

A second important principle is the sustainable production of biomass in the sense that the capability of nature to produce biomass in a permanent way is maintained and the carbon stock in soils and forests remains at least stable over time. This should be valid for indigenous biomass as well as for imported biomass.

Biomass is a decentralised resource, therefore, whenever it is possible, a regional approach for the development of bioenergy should be applied rather than imports of bioenergy in order to reduce transportation costs, to ensure be regional security of energy supply and provide new jobs in rural areas.

About 40% of the final energy in Europe is used in the residential and service sector, mainly in the form of heat. At present, around 90% of this heat demand is covered by fossil fuels and electricity. In the future, when the prices for oil and gas rise, this might cause an increasing problem of energy poverty. However, it takes a long time to change the energy system.

The available biomass technologies for heating and cooling offer good opportunities for “greening” this sector, however, the lack of capital and the long pay back period hold back this development. There is a need of at least 10 billion Euro annually to co-finance national programmes aimed to start a rapid restructuring of the heating sector.

A rapid introduction of biomass for heat would reduce the demand for electricity in this sector. The paper explains in detail that such an approach would reduce the C02 emissions at much lower costs for the society than with the CCS technology. Therefore, AEBIOM is against the promotion of CCS with public money coming from the European taxpayers.

One proven tool to decrease GHG emissions of fossil fuels is the introduction of the C02 taxes. Such a carbon tax can be a powerful instrument to direct investments towards C02 neutral energy solutions and to make energy saving more attractive.

This paper also looks at the national renewable energy action plans (nREAPs) and proposes that these plans should be further developed and improved, so that they become reliable and consistent guidelines for the bioenergy industry.

With this paper, AEBIOM aims to contribute in a constructive way to the rapid deployment of bioenergy in Europe in order to achieve the European targets and create a sustainable, secure and environmentally friendly energy system.