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Bioenergy continues to be the main source of renewable energy in the EU, says Commission

Bioenergy produced from agricultural, forestry and organic waste feedstock continues to be the main source of renewable energy in the EU, accounting for about 59 per cent of renewable energy consumption in 2021, according to a new Commission report on bioenergy sustainability.

The report noted that primary solid biofuels (70.3 per cent) represent the largest share of bioenergy, followed by liquid biofuels (12.9 per cent), biogas/ bio-methane (10.1 per cent) and renewable share of municipal waste (6.6 per cent).

“From the start of this mandate, we’ve been committed to moving away from natural gas, towards cleaner options, like biomethane, renewable hydrogen, biogas and e-gases,” said Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson. “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the energy crisis has highlighted the need to accelerate this transformation. This report shows we have made some progress, but we need to do more.”

Based on the reporting by Member States linked to their National Energy & Climate Progress Reports (NECPRs), most Member States have reported measures related to the promotion of biogas and biomethane. This is in line with the Commission proposal in the REPowerEU plan to accelerate the production of sustainably-produced biomethane, in order to reduce the EU’s reliance on imported fossil fuels.

Indigenous biogas production in the EU in 2021 rose to 14.9 million tonnes of oil equivalent (mtoe), a 1.7 per cent increase compared to 2020. Germany remained the largest producer (7.5mtoe – 50.4 per cent of the total), followed by Italy (13.9 per cent, 2.1mtoe) and France (9.4 per cent, 1.4 mtoe). Belgium, Finland, Hungary and Sweden did not report any biogas production.

In the transport sector, the report noted that renewable energy is continuously increasing. It should be highlighted that the use of advanced biofuels and other biofuels produced from feedstock as well as the share of renewable electricity has substantially increased over time. Overall, the final consumption of biofuels has increased by 39 per cent in 2021 compared to 2013. Final consumption of biofuels in the transport sector in 2021 accounted for a total of 16.5 mtoe in the EU – a 39 per cent increase since 2013 – with biodiesel accounting for roughly 80% of total biofuel consumption in the transport sector. Bioethanol was the second most consumed fuel type (18 per cent), and biomethane and other liquid biofuels aggregate to less than 1 per cent.

As regards heating and cooling, biomass fuels and bioliquids were used for the production of 17.3 mtoe of gross heat in the EU in 2021, notably using solid biomass (76.0 per cent), followed by renewable municipal waste (18.1 per cent) and biogases (5.0 per cent).

In the electricity sector, 45.6 mtoe of biomass fuels and bioliquids were used to produce 14.6 mtoe of gross electricity in 2021. This was 15 per cent of the total gross renewable electricity mix and 6% of the total gross electricity. Seventy-four per cent of gross electricity from biomass was produced in combined heat and power plants, mainly from solid biomass (54.8 per cent), biogases (31.1 per cent) and renewable municipal waste (11.6 per cent).

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