Bioelectricity: A critical contribution to the decarbonisation of the EU’s energy system


Bioenergy Europe launches the first chapter of its Statistical Report 2020 dedicated to Bioelectricity, providing an in-depth analysis of the role of the bioenergy in the decarbonisation of EU’s power grid.

While renewables account for 33% of the EU energy mix – of which 5,8% generated by bioenergy – 67% of the electricity in the EU is still generated by non-renewables such as coal, natural gas and nuclear.

In addition, despite substantial efforts undertaken in recent years, the electricity’s carbon footprint in the EU remains high, reaching 292 gCO2eq/kWh in 2018 in EU-27. Worth noting a major disparity among EU Member States: many of them are still well above the EU-27 average, but countries such as Poland and Estonia are lagging with a carbon footprint of respectively 692 and 602 gCO2eq/kWh.

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Numbers are clear: To achieve the full decarbonisation of its power system and its economy, the EU needs a strategic vision and concrete measures to support a profound change in the members states’ energy mix.

Only a combination of advanced clean technologies – that includes bioenergy – can ensure a stable and secure supply of clean electricity. Bioelectricity offers the advantage of complementing variable renewables, being a stable, flexible, and cost-effective source of energy.

Furthermore, bioelectricity is becoming increasingly efficient, with 71% electricity generated from modern combined heat and power plants (CHP). In comparison, electricity generation from conventional thermal sources CHP accounts only for 28%.

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Effective energy mix should be prioritised through long-term political commitment and investments in order to secure stability of the system at all time. Bioelectricity and its possibility to produce on-demand is a perfect match with wind or PV that are intermittent when the wind blow and the sunshine. Such network stabilisation role should be more recognised. This should be coupled with adequate financial support aimed at efficient technologies and sustainable-fuel demonstration projects. The full market uptake of bioelectricity technologies represents a concrete answer to today’s challenges offering a viable and sustainable solution.

The benefits of a coherent and effective energy transition, which sees bioelectricity as a key piece of the puzzle are manifold: environmental benefits, secure energy system, but also ensure jobs creation and economic development at local and regional level.

Jean-Marc Jossart, the secretary general of Bioenergy Europe, said: “The economic recovery after the pandemic should be seen as a strategic opportunity. Financing instruments should be used to accelerate the decarbonisation of Europe. Bioenergy is part of the solution to phase out fossil fuels, being technically mature, economically affordable and socially fair”.