USIPA: EU recognizes biomass is integral to energy transition

By U.S. Industrial Pellet Association | May 21, 2020

The U.S. Industrial Pellet Association welcomed today’s EU Biodiversity Strategy which acknowledges that sustainable biomass will be integral to achieving Europe’s carbon reduction and biodiversity goals. This communication from the European Commission outlines its vision to combat climate change and biodiversity loss, and is part of a multi-step legislative process that will unfold over the coming years. 

Over the past decade, sustainable biomass has made significant contributions towards current 2020 emissions targets and biodiversity goals by displacing millions of tons of coal and preserving forest habitat. 

Forests in the US Southeast are a great success story in this regard with forest cover increasing 21% since 2000. This growth has occurred at the same time as our members have produced substantial quantities of renewable fuel for EU Member States, precisely because creating markets for wood products leads to sustainable forests that allow biodiversity to thrive. 

The Biodiversity Strategy also calls to minimize the use of certain feedstock categories for biomass, including whole trees. The biomass industry only sources what other forest product users do not want or use, including lower-value whole trees. This is a sustainable practice and in keeping with the principle of using wood fiber for its greatest climate benefit. 

Markets ensure that the biomass industry does not buy high-quality wood fiber used to make end products with permanent carbon storage, such as mass timber, telephone poles or furniture. Furthermore, regulations and legislation, such as the REDII, guarantee that biomass is sourced sustainably and does not result in negative impacts to forest ecosystems. 

We look forward to continued dialogue and working with our partners and EU leaders on these topics to ensure a stable supply of low-carbon energy that displaces fossil fuels and preserves our forests in the U.S. Southeast.