Analysing Biomass Futures for Europe
Bioenergy use will be a key to meeting the targets of the EU Renewable Energy Directive. IEEP has contributed to a major project in the field of bioenergy, the Biomass Futures project, financed by the EU’s Intelligent Energy Europe programme. A coalition of well-respected research institutions from across the EU, led by Imperial College and including inter alia IIASA, Alterra, Oeko-Institute and ECN, have investigated the role that bioenergy can play up to 2020 and the wider consequences of its use.
IEEP co-organised the final project workshop, hosted by Green MEP Claude Turmes in the European Parliament in March, which presented the project’s results. The main outputs of the project include:
- An EU-wide mapping of biomass energy potentials from various sources, including waste and residues from different sectors, as well as purposefully grown energy crops, to help Member States meet their renewable energy targets. This mapping revealed a significant domestic sustainable bioenergy potential, of which large shares currently remain underexploited; and
- Ecological-economic modelling of the impacts of EU bioenergy use up to 2030. The results make a clear case for the global protection of high biodiversity and high carbon stock areas, to prevent environmentally and socially harmful indirect effects.
While the modelling suggests that there is significant potential for sustainable biomass production in the EU, a key challenge in accessing this will be to ensure that the potential remains sustainable when it passes from the realm of modelling to the localised realities of biomass production. How to achieve this should be the subject of dedicated attention from the policy and research communities at Member State and EU levels.
Reports from the project and the presentations given at the final workshop can be found on the Biomass Futures website.
Contact: Bettina Kretschmer