Europe takes further steps in support of Biomass energy

A major development took place in the European parliament in the past few weeks that shows the level of support for Biomass Energy as an alternative to Fossil fuels.

The European Parliament voted in on January 17 and delivered its position on the final versions of both the Renewable Energy (REDII) and the Energy Efficiency (EED) Directives. This concludes a first but crucially important stage of the European legislative process. These adopted proposals will now proceed to inter-institutional negotiations (also known as trilogues) before effectively becoming legally binding from 2021 to 2030.

Summary of the main decisions:

  • Targets: the target for renewable for 2030 is set at 35 per cent, binding at EU level.

  • Biomass resources; banning of using stumps and other waste materials for energy was rejected by a narrow margin.

  • Green-House-Gas (GHG) reduction: The criteria requiring GHG emission reductions, compared to fossil fuels, are set with the following progressive targets: 70 per cent reduction for installations starting operation after Jan. 1, 2021 and 80 per cent for installations starting operation after Jan. 1, 2026.

  • Biopower (26.8): Concerning biomass to electricity (i.e. biopower): an energy efficiency requirement of 40 per cent has been set for power-only installations. In addition, these installations are now required to run exclusively on biomass.

Spot prices for Biomass wood pellets continue to rise as Europe faces into a cold snap and on the back of the European parliament’s concrete support of Biomass as a future energy source has been reflected in rising prices. See chart below. Price per tonne of Woodpellets in Euro

Reaction to the EU Parliament's votes by Will Gardiner, chief executive of Drax Group: “Biomass is playing a vital role in decarbonizing our electricity system, providing sustainable, reliable low carbon power for millions of homes and businesses. We are pleased the EU Parliament has recognized the important part biomass plays and we look forward to the next stage of the legislative process and further progress on the introduction of robust, workable sustainability criteria.”

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