Energising Europe’s Future with Bioenergy

In the coming years, the energy transition will remain vital to guarantee an independent, sustainable, and competitive European Union. Bioenergy Europe has 3 recommendations for the new EU leadership to make this happen. Irene di Padua, Policy Director at Bioenergy Europe, gives an overview of the steps the new EU leaders can take.

Europe stands at a crossroads. After the EU election, it will be time to implement the Green Deal and ensure a transition which delivers wealth and prosperity for EU citizens.

The energy transition is not merely an environmental imperative; it is also a socio-economic necessity. It holds the promise of creating millions of jobs, fostering innovation, promoting industrial competitiveness, and ensuring a resilient and independent energy supply.

In the next 5 years, Europe needs to focus on phasing out fossil fuels, enhancing its energy independence and developing innovative solution such as biogenic carbon removals.

Phasing out fossil fuels
The first concrete actions should be to end fossil fuel subsidies and mandate Member States to set end dates for fossil fuel use across various sectors. Continuing this unhealthy relationship with fossil fuels increases our vulnerability to geopolitical disturbances, among other risks. Each winter, this dependency exposes EU citizens to price fluctuations and supply uncertainties.

Make the EU more resilient
Enhancing EU energy security necessitates investing in reliable and sustainable energy sources, such as biomass. As Mario Draghi emphasized regarding the future of EU competitiveness, “We need to be able to rely on decarbonised and independent energy systems.” Bioenergy is an indigenous energy source which complement other renewables in many sectors. It is a robust EU-based industry which is delivering net-zero technologies and that are already contributing to the decarbonisation of the EU economy. The European Union should maintain the leadership on Bioenergy while developing other alternatives to fossil fuels.

Modernise our heating systems
Supporting the demand for more efficient heating systems is essential. Modernising heating appliances should be a priority. A more efficient and defossilised heating system will free up renewable energy for other uses, such as in industry. In addition to reducing emissions from buildings, it will help citizens to face the coming winters with confidence.

Going carbon negative
The future Europe also needs to “be big on big things” (to quote Jean-Claude Juncker’s slogan) and embrace technological advancements. It is urgent to establish a political and financial framework that accelerates the deployment of biogenic carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies. These mature technologies can significantly reduce overall emissions and compensate for hard-to-abate sectors.

What is the role for biomass?
Energy from biomass offers a unique combination of benefits. It is a renewable and carbon neutral form of energy. When combined with Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technologies, bioenergy can achieve carbon-negative results, removing CO2 from the atmosphere.

Furthermore, it is a truly European industry that enhances the EU’s industrial competitiveness and local economies. More than three fourths of the bioenergy we use is produced in the EU and 74% of bioenergy technology suppliers are based within the EU. By 2050, the bioenergy sector could create up to 1.5 million jobs across the continent.

Bioenergy is a flexible energy source that can be used for heating, electricity, and transport, complementing other renewable energy sources like wind and solar. With a realistic but still ambitious leadership committed to sustainable growth, we can secure a prosperous and resilient future for all Europeans. Bioenergy Europe will continue to provide effective and innovative solutions to advance Europe’s energy future.