A new EU sustainable bioenergy policy

Proposal to regulate bioenergy production and use in the EU’s renewable energy policy framework 2020-2030

Publication date: 5 September 2016

The European Commission has announced that it will propose a new and improved bioenergy sustainability policy for the use of biomass in heating, electricity and transport as part of its Climate and Energy Package for 2030. The proposal is expected to be released before the end of 2016.

While bioenergy will play a vital role in EU’s transition to an energy system based entirely on renewable energy, it will be small relative to the contribution of other renewables and energy efficiency. This is because there are limits to the extent to which bioenergy can be used sustainably.  It is therefore important to ensure that these limited sustainable bioenergy resources are preferentially used where no better renewable energy alternatives exist.

To ensure bioenergy is genuinely sustainable comprehensive safeguards need to be introduced which check that bioenergy is truly low carbon, resource efficient and avoids negative consequences on biodiversity, soil, water, land use and people.

This paper focuses on concerns related to the EU’s growing bioenergy use, which is being driven by EU climate and energy policies. It focuses on the practicalities of implementing sustainability safeguards in all energy uses of biomass, including electricity,heating and transport.