To the kind attention of President Ursula von der Leyen

Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans

Commissioner Kadri Simson

Commissioner Thierry Breton

RE: OPEN LETTER - Let bioenergy make a decisive contribution to European energy security and independence

05 May 2022

Dear President Von der Leyen,

Dear Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans,

Dear Commissioner Kadri Simson,

Dear Commissioner Thierry Breton,

We, the undersigned CEOs, and high-level representatives of the bioenergy industry, urge the EU institutions and Member States to properly include solid biomass and biofuels in the EU strategy to become independent from Russian fossil fuels.

Recent events have demonstrated the shortcomings of European energy policy and how the EU suffers from its high dependency on Russian fossil fuel imports.

We are concerned by the lack of vision within the REPowerEU proposals from the EU Commission that do not include solutions that can offer a quick reduction of this dependency, such as an array of bioenergy applications, waste for energy, and district heating.

We call for a coherent long-term approach to help Europe develop diversified options and foster a secure, stable, and affordable energy mix of the future, based on renewable-only solutions.

Bioenergy is a readily available indigenous solution that can be applied in the short-term to substantially contribute to achieving EU 2030 and 2050 objectives. We note that:

  • Bioenergy offers concrete solutions to substitute gas, oil, and coal in ALL sectors of society: in heating, power production, industry, transport, and agriculture.
  • Solid biomass is primarily sourced from within Europe (95%) and imports largely come from trusted allies, making it an invaluable asset to foster EU energy independence and energy security.
  • The European bioenergy sector is a global leader in renewable technologies with more than 800.000 jobs and 50.000+ companies across the value chain.
  • Bioenergy is readily available and can be deployed quickly, often at a low cost. For example, in district heating, switching from fossil fuels to biomass and waste has reduced costs and emissions in many countries. For residential and commercial buildings, pellet; briquettes, or wood chip heating offers a clean and efficient alternative to gas and oil.
  • Bioenergy is a virtuous example of circular bioeconomy also in the industrial sector, as it can produce renewable energy using residues and waste from several industries and feedstocks, helping to strengthen the concept of a productive supply chain.
  • Finally, a sustainably managed forest is a more resilient forest. Our sector brings multiple co-benefits for nature conservation, increasing the carbon stock, and reducing disturbances, while generating jobs and income in Europe.

In the latest report from the IPCC, bioenergy is one of the major pathways to climate mitigation, and BECCS (bioenergy + carbon capture and storage) is the only solution that can contribute to negative emissions at a reasonable cost. The IEA included a major contribution from bioenergy power generation in its 10-point plan for reduced European dependency on Russian gas. Unfortunately, the EU Commission only focused on biogas in REPowerEU missing the overall potential of the sector. Similarly, the proposal for the revised Renewable Energy Directive aims at limiting support for biomass solutions instead of promoting a sound and sustainable framework.

The bioenergy sector fully supports the energy and climate ambitions of the EU Green Deal that is giving an enthusiastic vision for Europe. The bioenergy industry is highly committed to delivering increasingly efficient technologies which can drastically reduce emissions. We also strongly believe in a sound sustainability framework for biofuels, biogas and solid biomass that will guarantee environmental performance. No other energy source has an equivalent system in place, and this reinforces our belief that we are frontrunners in the energy transition.

European policy makers cannot be doubtful about the role that bioenergy plays. We, the leaders of the bioenergy industry and utilities in Europe, call on our political leaders to allow us to contribute. Together, we can foster the use of sustainable bioenergy in Europe to replace imported coal, oil and gas and ensure a renewable energy mix.

Yours sincerely,

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