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Bioenergy Day: success stories from CEE

Brussels-based international organisation Bioenergy Europe celebrated the EU’s Bioenergy Day (10 November) by recognising successful stories of the bioenergy sector across Europe. Among those, many were from Central and Eastern European countries.

“To secure the EU’s energy supply and reduce the emission of greenhouse gases we need to stop relying on fossil fuels for our energy needs,” said Jean-Marc Jossart,
Secretary General of Bioenergy Europe. “Bioenergy’s versatility, sustainability and availability make it the cornerstone of Europe’s energy security and climate ambitions,”

For example, over the past 20 years, Lithuania has transitioned from an energy system mainly depending on gas imports from Russia to one mainly powered by bioenergy.

From 2000 to 2022, the use of biomass in the district heating sector increased from nearly nothing (2 per cent) to three-fourths (75 per cent), mainly displacing imported gas. Currently, 75 per cent of district heating is produced from biomass fuels and around 80 per cent of households and a third of industry use biomass fuels – thus making biomass a strategically important fuel as a local and renewable resource. The transition from imported gas to local biomass fuel has not only resulted in a cost reduction for consumers but also a 70 per cent decrease in CO2 emissions. Moreover, approximately 10.000 people work for biomass technology, production and supply companies.

Combined heat and power (CHP) plants are also crucial to ensure lower CO2 gas emissions and a smooth decarbonisation process in the country. A new CHP plant in Vilnius just began operation in the 2022-2023 heating season and will ensure that at least 90 per cent of the heat in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius will be produced using sustainable biomass.

Another success mentioned by Bioenergy Europe is the one of Romania, where community-based systems ensure energy from the local green waste while preserving and protecting the environment, creating local jobs and business opportunities. Romania’s Green Energy Innovative Biomass Cluster is a great example of how this can be successful as it actively promotes the concept of One Village, 1 MW. Across Romania, more than 200 small and medium-sized biomass-based heating systems have been installed in more than 45 villages, with a total capacity of over 30 megawatts (MW). The small-scale, community-based systems are taking into consideration the local potential, creating value for the local communities, by preserving and protecting the environment, creating local jobs and business opportunities, as well as ensuring energy from local biomass resources. It is a sustainable business model: good for nature and good for the communities.

“The shift from fossil fuel dependence to a bioenergy-driven model not only fortifies local economies but also shields nations from external energy vulnerabilities,” concluded Mr Jossart. “Bioenergy’s inherent versatility and local sourcing not only reduce reliance on imported fuels but also lay the groundwork for a robust and secure energy future.”

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