EU Adopts Report with Non-Binding Sustainability Criteria for Biomass

25 February 2010: The European Commission has adopted a report on sustainability criteria for solid and gaseous biomass used in electricity, heating and cooling, which offers non-binding recommendations for sustainability criteria and monitoring methodologies for EU member States that wish to voluntarily adopt national biomass schemes.

The recommended criteria relate to: a general prohibition on the use of biomass from land converted from forest, other high carbon stock areas and highly biodiverse areas; a common greenhouse gas calculation methodology; the differentiation of national support schemes in favor of installations that achieve high energy conversion efficiencies; and monitoring of the biomass' origin. In coming to this decision and to evaluate the effectiveness of possible EU-wide criteria, the Commission considered: problems of sustainable biomass use; cost-efficiency in meeting the objectives; and consistency with existing policies.

According to the Impact Assessment accompanying the report, there would be “substantial costs on European economic actors” if binding criteria were imposed at this time . The Commission will review its decision before the end of 2011. [EC Press Release] [The Report] [Impact Assessment of EU Biomass Policy Options] [Summary of Impact Assessment]