Brussels, 09 July 2020 - Bioenergy Europe welcomes the EU Strategy for Energy System Integration and the European Commission’s continued commitment to foster EU’s path to decarbonisation. As stated in the strategy, ‘we are still far from where we need to be by 2050’, with electricity and heating generation still heavily reliant on fossil fuels. However, through fast-tracking renewable energy deployment and the phasing out fossil fuels, Europe can deliver on this much-needed energy transition.

In the context of heating – responsible for half of EU energy consumption and 36% of its emissions – the issue is by no means localized. Its decarbonization should be prioritized; achieving a more integrated energy infrastructure through the development of renewable-based district heating but equally, keeping in mind that while electrification is one of the tools available, it should not become the objective. The Renovation Wave should facilitate the roll out of renewable heat in the building sector and upskilling installers. The industry stresses that technological neutrality should be a guiding principle for any action aimed at increasing the share of RES in the heating system and development of modern district heating systems.

The strategy rightly acknowledges of the role of biogas, biomethane and biofuels in accelerating the decarbonization of key sectors such as transport including maritime and aviation. Concrete actions and targeted support schemes to accelerate the development of the market for these solutions should be fully supported.

Furthermore, the bioenergy industry welcomes the recognition of the role of farmers in the energy transition and the need to incentivize this key sector. Clear reference to greater mobilisation of sustainable agricultural biomass residues for energy is necessary to untap its potential as it brings substantial environmental and socio-economic benefits. Biomass residues-use reduces the heating bill for end-users, creates additional streams of revenues for farmers and rural areas, and contributes to cohesive territorial development. It offers a readily available solution to cut the emissions from, and lessen the dependence on fossil fuels, while simultaneous fostering a circular economy model.

More broadly, we encourage the EC to set ambitious targets for the mobilisation of biological waste and residues from agriculture, food and forestry and to create generous support mechanisms within Common Agriculture Policy, Structural Funds and the new LIFE programme.

Finally, enabling both carbon capture and storage, and use would be a key step in the road to decarbonization, with the certification of carbon removals being a much-needed incentive for the uptake of these technologies. Bioenergy Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) is the most mature Negative Emission Technology and allows for the production of clean energy coupled with the permanent capture of CO2 gas removals.

Jean-Marc Jossart, Bioenergy Europe Secretary-General: “A more resource-efficient Europe based on an ever-growing share of RES is primordial to achieve in this ambitious strategy. An integrated energy system will certainly foster the energy transition, but we should not lose our focus and accompany any effort to develop and deploy new solutions with existing, readily available one such as bioenergy”.

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