Meeting renewable energy targets from forest biomass

During the seminar on “Opportunities and challenges in meeting renewable energy targets from forest biomass: an EU perspective”, participants discussed the consequences of European Union (EU) Energy Policy on biomass demand from the forest and evaluated the upcoming EU sustainability criteria for solid biomass. The latest developments on sustainable forest biomass utilization for energy purposes were also presented. 

Forest bio-energy development is considered to offer opportunities to mobilise the production potential of European forests and to contribute to a more climate friendly bio-based economy. This development also implies risks, possibly in competition with the traditional forest industry and in relation to its sustainability.

There was a broad consensus among participants that promotion of renewable energy from the forest sector should be combined with measures stimulating the efficient use of biomass resources and the cascading principle of maximising added value and greenhouse gas savings in the production chain. There was also agreement that sustainability rules for forest biomass used for energy do not need to differ from those for other forest products or land uses. There was a call for an improved greenhouse gas accounting methodology to illuminate the issue of carbon neutrality. 

In his closing address MEP Bas Eickhout invited the European Commission (DG ENER, AGRI, ENV, CLIMA) to find common grounds for developing solid bioenergy in a sustainable and a resource efficient manner. 

The seminar was organised by the high-level discussion and information-sharing forum on the future of forests in Europe – ThinkForest. ThinkForest aims to provide an active and efficient science-policy interface and foster an inspiring and dynamic dialogue on strategic forest-related issues. The biomass event was initiated and co-organised by EFIMED. 

More information: Bart Muys, bart.muys (at) efi.int

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