EEA Calls for Bioenergy Production to Follow EU Resources Efficiency Principles

EEA3 July 2013: A new report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) provides an analysis of Europe's bioenergy potential from an energy efficiency perspective. It notes the critical tradeoffs in bioenergy between land use for energy vs. agricultural crops, and the challenge associated with analyzing the environmental impacts and advantages of bioenergy.

The report, titled 'EU Bioenergy Potential from a Resource Efficiency Perspective,' highlights the variety of bioenergy production approaches ranging from using biomass waste vs. cultivating crops specifically for bioenergy. The study primarily examines bioenergy from the agriculture sector though estimates are made for the EU forest and waste sectors.

Key results include: the critical importance of accounting for indirect land use change; the large variety in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions depending on different bioenergy pathways; and the finding that current energy cropping trends are not environmentally compatible. It argues that neither a market-based focus on developing bioenergy, nor a climate-based focus will deliver optimal results, but rather an approach that considers the most resource-efficient use of biomass is necessary.

Finally the report outlines a range of environmental impacts that are typically not considered in the EU bioenergy policy framework, but which should be considered going forward. [EEA Press Release] [Publication: EU Bioenergy Potential from a Resource Efficiency Perspective]