WOODY BIOMASS: a sustainable solution to Europe's energy crisis

40+ companies and organisations call on the European Parliament’s to enable the efficient and circular use of woody biomass residues

Heating accounts for 50% of EU energy demand, and 42% of it is supplied by natural gas. The current energy crisis led to huge increases in energy prices and exposed the vulnerabilities associated with the dependency on fossil fuel imports. In this perspective, the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED III) has taken a new dimension: it is not only about setting the EU on track to achieve 55% carbon emission reduction by 2030, but also to accelerate the uptake of local, clean and renewable heating sources and solutions.
 
District heating and cooling (DHC) is part of the solution to deliver major natural gas savings in the short-term, and a robust decarbonization pathway for heating on the road to 2050. It harnesses both local renewable heat and sustainable excess heat from industrial and urban sources, to bring clean and affordable heat to households and industries.
 
Local and sustainable bioenergy accounts for 27% of Europe’s DHC supply. The importance of bioenergy is not limited to the heating and cooling sector: bioenergy and in particular woody biomass is Europe’s most prominent local and sustainable energy source, it represents 10% of the total energy we consume2, with over 96% of biomass produced domestically. Sustainable bioenergy contributes to the decarbonization of our energy system, but it is also an important resource to guarantee Europe’s energy independence considering the drastic and unprecedented energy shortage.
 
In the context of the trilogue negotiations on REDIII, On the 10th of November, over 40 organisations and companies have released a statement to express strong concerns over the European Parliament’s proposal to introduce a new definition of “primary woody biomass” and the restrictions associated to its use.
 
 
Aurélie Beauvais, Managing Director of Euroheat & Power, commented:  “The sustainable use of woody biomass is a necessity for Europe’s energy transition, in a context of unprecedented energy shortage. The sector is ready and willing to apply ambitious sustainability standards, which include strict forest management practices, the prioritisation of highly efficient cogeneration and robust GHG saving, in a context of unprecedented energy shortage. The sector is ready and willing to apply ambitious sustainability standards, which include strict forest management practices, the prioritisation of highly efficient cogeneration and robust GHG saving criteria. A pragmatic approach to bioenergy sustainability should, however, enable the use of wood residues and non-quality roundwood for energy production, enhancing resource efficiency and the circularity of wood use to prevent the waste of precious natural resources.”