EC seeks input, comments on post-2020 bioenergy policy

By Erin Voegele | March 03, 2016

The European Commission is seeking public input on its post-2020 sustainable bioenergy policy. The three-month consultation period began Feb. 10 and concludes May 10.

Documents published by the EC explain EU member states have agreed on a new policy framework for climate and energy, which includes European Union-wide targets for 2020-’30. The targets call for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40 percent when compared to a 2005 baseline, with a minimum of 27 percent share of renewable energy in the EU.

When this 2020-’30 policy was finalized in 2014, the EC said an improved biomass policy would be needed in order to maximize the resource-efficient use of biomass in order to deliver robust and verifiable GHG savings while allowing for fair competition between various users of biomass, including those in the construction sector, pulp and paper industries, and biochemical and energy production. According to the EC, the updated biomass policy should also encompass the sustainable use of land, the sustainable management of forest, and address indirect land use change effects.

Within its consultation documents, the EC said it “is now reviewing the sustainability of all bioenergy sources and final uses for the period after 2020. Identified sustainability risks under examination include lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions from bioenergy production and use; impacts on the carbon stock of forests and other ecosystems; impacts on biodiversity, soil and water, and emissions to the air; indirect land use ecosystems; impacts on biodiversity, soil and water, and emissions to the air; indirect land use change impacts; as well as impacts on the competition for the use of biomass between different sectors (energy, industrial uses, food),” The EC also said it has carried out a number of studies to examine these issues in more detail and plans to organized a stakeholder conference on April 13. 

Those who wish to weigh in on the consultation are asked to complete a nine-part online survey. The survey includes space for two 5,000-charater written responses, and allows participants to upload relevant supporting documents. Additional information can be found on the EC website.