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Agriculture is an area in which competence is shared between the European Union (EU) and EU Member States. The bioenergy and agricultural sectors are closely intertwined. The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) funds direct payments to farmers, regulates agricultural markets and finances EU countries’ rural development programmes. Launched for the first time over 50 years ago, the CAP reform was adopted in December 2021 and entered into force on 1 January 2023. It will remain in force until 2027. Member States have adopted their National Strategic Plans which will be periodically reviewed by the European Commission, focusing on the collective ambition to achieve Green Deal targets.

The role of biomass

In 2020, around 15% of the biomass feedstock used in EU energy production originated from agriculture, which included both agricultural residues and dedicated energy crops for the production of heat, electricity and biofuels. However, agricultural biomass in the EU remains underutilised for various reasons: lack of appropriate policy measures to support its mobilisation, limited know-how on its exploitation (technologies, business models, opportunities), etc. Several studies point to a future increased role for agricultural biomass in achieving Europe’s long-term decarbonisation objectives.

Our position

EU and national policies should support the key role played by agricultural biomass and energy crops in the achievement of long-term EU decarbonisation objectives. Obstacles to the utilisation of agricultural residues, such as lack of information and mobilisation issues, should be tackled with support from programmes such as the Agriculture Knowledge and Innovation Systems (AKIS). Furthermore, the positive environment contribution provided by perennial energy crops (improved water quality, enhanced biodiversity, erosion prevention and climate change mitigation) should be acknowledged. The Common Agricultural Policy and the National Strategic Plans for CAP should encourage, through concrete measures, an increase in bioenergy from agriculture and forestry as well as the use of bioenergy on farms and in rural areas.

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