PR – The Eickhout paradox: How to reach 45% renewables by 2030 while jeopardising the EU’s main source of renewable energy?

8th June 2017

EU inter-institutional discussions on solid bioenergy sustainability have started today with the publication of the European Parliament’s first draft report. The ENVI committee is leading the discussions on the harmonised, binding criteria proposed in November by the Commission, with Mr. Eickhout (Greens/EFA, NL) as rapporteur.

Following the withdrawal of the US from the Paris Agreement, it is crucial for the European Union’s credibility that words and actions go hand in hand. However, Mr. Eickhout’s report is a first vibrant counterexample, according to AEBIOM Secretary-General Jean-Marc Jossart “How can the EU reach a (welcomed) 45% RES target while at the same time jeopardising its main source of renewable energy? “

Following Mr. Eickhout’s recommendations would simply result in the decrease of bioenergy’s contribution to the EU energy mix. Bioenergy currently represents 60% of all renewable energy consumption in Europe, 95% of which is produced within the EU!

Among others, extending the scope of implementation of EU bioenergy sustainability rules to installations between 1 and 20 MW would translate into additional burdens for thousands of small and medium size operators across Europe, while deterring the development of hundreds of local projects. Indeed, installations between 1 and 20 MW represent more than 80% of the total number of installations above 1 MW capacity in Europe, but only about 25% of the wood volume consumed. “A 1 MW threshold is just the opposite of proportional and effective,” continued Jossart.

The establishment of a list of the types of wood waste and residues considered sustainable and defined arbitrarily is another example showing that this report ignores the multifaceted ground reality of the forest industry. This will be totally counter-productive as it will limit the opportunities for forest owners to better manage their forests thanks to additional sources of income.

“Overall, this report ignores the role that bioenergy can play to reach climate and energy objectives while delivering the utmost socio-economic benefits sought in rural areas. At such a critical time, the European Parliament should avoid playing with fire,” concluded Jossart.







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