On 17 January, MEPs voted to recognise the importance of bioenergy in meeting the EU’s renewable energy and climate change targets.
Amongst the renewable energy options, bioenergy has the unique potential to deliver significant benefits to society and the environment.
Bioenergy is one of the most affordable renewable energy technologies. It is available in solid, liquid and gaseous forms and can be used for power, heating and transport. Sources of bioenergy are plentiful and can bring wealth and jobs to rural areas across the world and enable profit to be derived from marginal land.
Bioenergy projects can create markets for low-value roundwood and residues and therefore reduce waste. Bioenergy fuels are indispensable in that they can be easily stored so when demand is high they can be mobilised as soon as they are required. As a result of all this, bioenergy can meet needs not readily met by other renewables and provide grid stability on cloudy or windless days.
To be a positive part of an integrated approach to tackling climate change bioenergy feedstocks should be obtained from sustainable sources and not lead to the destruction of primary forest or land designated for nature protection. The production pathway for bioenergy fuels needs to be able to meet strict greenhouse emissions thresholds compared to fossil fuels to ensure that tangible carbon reduction is achieved.