Page 59 - European Energy Innovation - Summer 2016 publication
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Summer 2016 European Energy Innovation      59


2016 will be a pivotal year for

the future of bioenergy in Europe

Bioenergy often faces a lack of recognition when compared to other renewable energy solutions.
However, it accounts for more than 60% of the overall renewables consumption in Europe, contributing
de facto to the fulfillment of Member States’ 2020 renewable energy targets. Bioenergy is concerned by
several key files currently being discussed in Brussels – and there is no doubt: such topics will be high on
the 2016 EU policy agenda and beyond.

By M. Jossart (pictured) General Secretary, The European Biomass Association (AEBIOM)

New frameworks and                           all of AEBIOM’s attention. Firstly, the EU  GHG emissions reduction by 2050) if
                regulations will have a      strategy for Heating and Cooling (H&C),     we want to steer clear of technology
                critical impact on the       which the European Commission               lock-ins or stranded assets within a
                bioenergy sector as a whole  presented in mid-February. Until            fossil fuel infrastructure (like new fossil
 and, depending on the direction set by      today, renewable energy policies have       gas pipelines).
 European policy makers, the industry        been almost exclusively focusing on
 will be facing either challenges or         the electricity sector. The European        Secondly, the 2030 Climate and Energy
 opportunities after 2020. Listing all       Commission decision to tackle the           Framework and the new Renewable
 relevant, impactful existing or coming      issue and decarbonise the H&C               Energy Directive will establish the
 policies concerning the bioenergy           sector is therefore welcomed by the         policy framework for renewable energy
 sector could give the impression of         sector’s professionals. In fact, biomass    (RES) for the period 2020-2030. In
 a Prévert-style exercise: the EU 2030       now represents 89% of the total EU          fact, within the development of its
 Climate and Energy packages, the EU         renewable heat consumption and              Energy Union Framework Strategy, the
 bioenergy sustainability policy, the EU     15% of the total EU heat consumption.       European Commission announced a
 strategy on Heating and Cooling, the        This share is expected to increase          new renewable energy package for
 EU Bioeconomy strategy, the Circular        slightly in 2020, according to Member       the post-2020 period, including a new
 economy package, the Eco-labelling          States’ projections. Biomass has the
 revision, air emissions legislation         potential to deliver significant and
 (medium combustion plants and large         cost-effective solutions for a growing
 combustion plants directives), the          heat demand. Innovative technologies
 state aid guidelines revision, the Forest   are today mature and ready to deliver
 strategy implementation, the LULUCF         for heating buildings, cities and
 decision, the EU market design and the      industrial processes. This strategy,
 ETS revision are among the key policy       expected to focus on a reduction and
 files we could mention. However, we         decarbonisation of the H&C demand,
 must not forget that the bioenergy          offers important opportunities for
 sector still represents a small segment     renewable energy, including biomass.
 when compared to fossil fuels, and it       An important barrier to the deployment
 remains populated by players of very        and competitiveness of RES today
 different financial capacities. Therefore,  – particularly in the H&C sector – is
 we should take this into account            the low price of fossil fuels and the
 and stay pragmatic when producing           continuous support that these receive.
 policies and legislation. Let us not risk   Fossil fuel subsidies should be phased-
 hindering the dynamism and innovation       out urgently and carbon outside the
 of a key sector for renewable energy        ETS sectors should be priced, as is
 production, especially after the COP21      already the case in several Member
 agreement.                                  States that have introduced a carbon
                                             tax. Overall, we need coherence and a
 Among the policies abovementioned,          constant eye on long-term EU climate
 three ongoing discussions are focusing      and energy objectives (i.e. 80-95%
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