• Client: Natural Resource Defence Council (NRDC)
  • Implementation period: 2019 - 2019 (Completed)
  • Geographic coverage: European Union

To what extent do EU countries provide financial incentives for the use of solid biomass for electricity and heat production ?

Bioenergy plays a large role in the European renewable energy mix. Solid biomass, e.g. firewood and wood pellets, are used on a large scale for the generation of electricity and heat, mostly in power stations and CHP plants. However, as demand for biomass increases, concerns about deforestation related to imported and domestically harvested solid (forest) biomass used for energy purposes has also grown.

The US based Natural Resource Defence Council (NRDC) is interested to find out to what extent a selected group of 15 EU Member States subsidise the use of solid biomass and for which energy uses. This study, which was led by Trinomics, investigated the subsidy flows in the selected countries as well as the bioenergy consumption profiles in these countries. The Member States selected for this study represent over 80% of the biomass consumption (for energy purposes) in the EU. The final report with the outcomes of this project has been used by the NRDC to provide the factual basis for their position paper through which they are engaging in the political debate on European support policy for bioenergy.

The key findings of the project are:

  • Financial support for biomass has increased substantially over the last few years in the selected countries to € 6.5 million in 2017;
  • Operational support for the generation of electricity from biomass is the dominant form of financial support, which can be in the form of feed-in-tariffs, feed-in premiums or green certificates;
  • In absolute terms, Germany and the UK have the largest expenditures on financial support to energy production from biomass;
  • Overall, financial support for energy from solid biomass accounts for around 9% of the total financial support given to renewables;
  • In three of the selected countries this share was above 20%, and in eight of the selected countries it was below 10%.

Update: Since first publication a double counting error in the subsidy data for Denmark was detected. This has been corrected in the revised report which is available via the button above.