• Client: Fern
  • Implementation period: 2020 - 2021 (Completed)
  • Geographic coverage: European Union

What is the role of solid biomass in the future development of electricity and heating in Europe?

The main aim of this study was to provide an overview of the planned use of forest biomass for heating and cooling and electricity generating purposes, as described in the National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) of 24 of the 27 Member States (MS) of the EU (Luxembourg, Malta and Cyprus were excluded as each of which have negligible biomass use in EU terms). Moreover, the study also aimed to identify information gaps in the NECPs relating to the supply and sustainability of biomass, and to examine the current and planned policies supporting biomass use.

The following 4 tasks were delivered:

  1. The historic and future deployment trajectories of solid biomass were analysed through the extraction of relevant data from Eurostat and analysis of the NECPs;
  2. Current and planned policies and measures were analysed through the quantitative and qualitative evaluation of NECPs of each Member State;
  3. Impacts of the planned policies and measures were identified, in addition to LULUCF implications, where applicable;
  4. The findings of the analysis were reported, with particular emphasis on any lack of transparency or ambiguity on the impacts of policies.

The project was conducted by Trinomics and ran from November 2020 to March 2021.

The key findings of the project are:

  • Most of the EU MS provide some insights regarding the planned trajectories of the production of electricity and heat from bioenergy, however significant deficiencies were found in the information regarding biomass supply and feedstocks, forest biomass and its LULUCF impact;
  • Electricity from solid biomass is planned to increase over the coming decade, although at a much slower pace than overall renewables growth as a whole, while Heat from solid biomass is planned to increase by around 10% by 2030 based on the NECPs;
  • Around 50 current and 60 planned policies for biomass were identified in the NECPs of the in-scope MS, with the main focus of the measures being to increase energy production from biomass;
  • The NECPs do not yet reflect the increase in climate ambition agreed by EU leaders in December 2020.