According to the latest European Biomass Association’s (AEBIOM) Statistical Report, today bioenergy contributes to 61% of the total share of renewables.
Biomass is on the way to become the first European energy source, surpassing coal and has the potential to deliver more. Often overlooked, the heating and cooling sector accounts for half of the EU-28’s energy consumption and is dominated by fossil fuels (82%). Installing new pellet-fueled stoves in homes, efficient woodchip boilers in schools, hotels and shops could dramatically improve EU-28 energy independency. According to Gustav Melin, AEBIOM president, “Bioenergy is on the verge of becoming the first indigenous fuel in Europe, a great opportunity for more energy independence, growth and jobs.”
Europe has the natural resources for sustainable bioenergy development. Contrary to the common belief, Europe’s forests are steadily growing at a rate of 322.800 hectares per year – almost equivalent to a football field every minute. Through active, sustainable forest management, wood harvesting can actually increase forest productivity and carbon stock capacity. This is one the reasons why bioenergy and forests have seen parallel growth over the past decade.
However, bioenergy use remains modest when compared to fossil fuel consumption. While China and the US have energy dependencies below 20%, the EU imports 53% of its energy. In comparison bioenergy imports actually represent only 4,4% -a mere drop when compared to imported fossil fuels.
To realise the full potential of bioenergy, a stable policy framework is required. With nonbinding targets on renewables at national level and constantly postponed legislation on biomass sustainability, political uncertainty is already having repercussions on investment in renewables. “Progress in renewables should never be taken for granted, if bioenergy loses its edge in Europe, past efforts will be undermined and oil will fill the space left” continued Melin.
If Europe wants to remain number one in renewables, as Mr. Junker claimed, we need to restore ambition and set clear coherent objectives for renewables. In this key moment for Europe’s energy future, we should not risk weakening the backbone of renewable energy in Europe – bioenergy.
|Jean-Baptiste Boucher, Head of Communications
+32 2 318 40 36
|Fanny-Pomme Langue, Policy Director
+ 32 2 318 40 33