EU allows private investments into renewable energy

The EU allows investments from private investors to fund green tech. According to a survey, private entities are able to participate in the renewable energy financing mechanism. The European Commission opened a seven-point questionnaire that aims at providing indicative feedback on potential investors. The EU renewable energy financing mechanism is in the implementation phase.

Private investment are a cornerstone of the successful rollout of the European Green Deal. Private investors will have an equal opportunity to contribute to the mechanism. Their financial contributions count to the EU binding target of at least 32 % of  renewable energy. There will be a link to projects with financial support from private investmors to the EU-wide green label. An additional incentive are possible guarantees of origins for the energy production corresponding to the private investment contribution. Guarantees of origin “could be issued for the renewable energy production in accordance with Article 19 of the directive and subject to the national legislation in the country hosting the project.” Private investors benefit from broadening their sustainability and decarbonisation portfolio and from diversifying their investment agenda.

All private entities, natural or legal persons, can express their participation interest. They can further indicate a preference for the tender procedure for which its payment is intended, or a type of technology that they wish to support.

“Replying to this questionnaire does not create any legal or financial rights or obligations either for the respondent or for the European Commission.”

Further information:

The survey:

Expression of interest for participation in the Union renewable energy financing mechanism as a private investor

EU renewable energy financing mechanism

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/1294

Information according to (link).

The Biomass of European Forests

The European Joint Research Centre (JRC) published an analysis on the European forests and their biomass potential.

Europes bioeconomy is highly relying on forest biomass as a relevant source of energy and raw material. However, the biomass stock data are poorly harmonized and need an update. The JRC Biomass Assessment Study recognized this need. This helps to understand the possible contribution of biomass stock in Europe to a sustainable bioeconomy. “The present report provides an overview of existing forest biomass data in Europe, describes the methodologies used to harmonize and compare them, and proposes an improved biomass map consistent with the forest inventory data.”

European countries have diverging forest and biomass definitions. The estimation periods are different and use various scales. A first step in the study was the harmonization of biomass data provided by the National Forest Inventories (NFIs). Furthermore, the biomass maps for forest definition had to be resonated. Finally, amendments lead to consistent data on forest areas and “biomass available for wood supply, using the same reference definition and common criteria to assess wood availability and related restrictions. The data harmonization produced a reference database of forest biomass in Europe, which includes statistics at sub-national scale and field plots, both harmonized for biomass pool and reference year.”

With the Biomass of European Forests database, uncertainties of the biomass maps at different spatial scales become visible. With the harmonized data it became clear that biomass maps have a relatively low accuracy at local scale. The result of the study is a biomass map of Europe at 1 ha resolution for the year 2010. This map is “in line with the reference statistics in terms of forest area and biomass stock.”

EC Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Recommendations

The European Commission published recommendations to the Member States’ Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Strategic Plans. Here is the link to the recommendations for all countries.

As an example, the European Commission recommends Germany to foster a smart and diversified agricultural industry that is able to ensure food security. The industry shall further strengthen the actions taken to protect the environment and climate. All with respect to the climate-related goals of the Union. Societal concerns especially in rural areas are another improvement option. Considering the impacts of digitalization, innovation and sharing of knowledge is very important.

The recommendations are based on the framework of the structured dialogue for the preparation of the common agricultural policy (CAP) strategic plan. They follow the analysis of the “state of play, the needs and the priorities for agriculture and rural areas in Germany. The recommendations address the specific economic, environmental and social objectives of the future CAP”.

Details on the European Green Deal are here.

Electrification of the Heating Sector

Early 2021, the European Joint Research Centre (JRC) published a paper on the electrification of heating and cooling. As a decarbonsation strategy, “the EL60 (32% heating and cooling electrified replacing fossil fuels) scenario seems to be the most ambitious electrification scenario that can be secured by today’s capacities”. However, based on the current capacities, this puts pressure on the grids particular in Austria, Finland and Latvia.

Many power systems can deal with higher heat and power demands from electrification of the sector. Especially heat pump capacity increases in the order of 1.1–1.6 TWth can be deployed. This would correspond to a heat pump share of 29–45% in space heating. 12 Member States could fully electrify without hickups. Three Member States could face some capacity issues, if they substitute 40–60% of fossil fuel technologies. An important enabler is the possibility to react to flexible electric demands.

EC is Forming a New Industrial Forum

The European Commission is forming a new Industrial Forum and calls for applications for the selection of members of the expert group.

The forum is part of the New Industrial Strategy for Europe. It is an inclusive and open mechanism for co-designing solutions with stakeholders. The task is to support the European Commission “in its systematic analysis of industrial ecosystems and in assessing the risks and needs of industry as it embarks on the digital and green transition, and the strengthening of its resilience.”

“The expert group will also contribute to the coordination of recovery efforts, as a forum for EU countries and industry to exchange best practices to transform industrial ecosystems.”

The Industrial Forum shall have up to 55 members from

A) Group C members

Industrial associations, NGOs, R&T organisations, trade unions and representatives of the financial and investment industries.

B) Group D members

National or regional EU member authorities.

C) Group C members

The European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

This current call concerns applications for type C members. Applications must be filed by January 4th to this email address. The inaugural meeting of the Industrial Forum is planned for January 2021.

The call for application can be downloaded here.

Further information can be found here.

Bioenergy Landscape 2020

In 2018, biomass accounted for 10 % of gross final energy consumption within the EU28. Bioenergy saved 310 million tons of CO2eq. 56.6 % of the EU’s total renewable energy consumption is covered by bioenergy. This underlines that the renewable energies industries are vital for the European energy system.

Bioenergy usage has more than doubled since 2000. It contributes to all final usage forms of energy – heat, electricity and transport. Bioenergy is currently the largest renewable source in Europe and will remain so in the future. Thus, the industry is an “indispensable and unavoidable” companion of the European energy system.

The main sources for bioenergy are agricultural feedstock and forest streams. Since bioenergy is labor-intensive, jobs in solid biomass, biofuels, biogas and renewable municipal waste add up to 708,600 jobs and more than 50,000 business units. The turnover in bioenergy added up to EUR 57.6 billion in the EU-28. As a leader in bioenergy technologies and exporter of equipment and solutions, Europe strongly contributes to making the industry resilient to variances in the global value chains and national market distortions.

With ambitious climate goals for 2050, renewable energy sources are an important piece of Europe’s energy consumption mix. The report stresses that only an “ambitious and stable policy framework” can ensure the energy transition. The fundament must be set now, with renewable sources being the backbone of the EU energy mix.

Sources:

Bioenergy Europe

Bioenergy International

A New Industrial Strategy for Europe

MEP Calenda brought forward a report on “A New Strategy for Europe”. The motion supports the development of a renewables value chain, especially for strategic considered industries for the EU. The European Parliament voted in favor.

The report can be found here.

A short presentation (Italian) can be found here.

Switch4Air – Podcast for Bioenergy

Switch4Air is a podcast powered by Bioenergy Europe in collaboration with the European Pellet Counsel, the voice of the European wood pellet sector, covering especially biomass in heat application.

www.switch4air.eu

“The heating and cooling sector is responsible for 36% of GHG emissions and represents 40% of energy consumption in the EU. Moreover, almost 80% of H&C consumption is provided by fossil fuels. It is essential that higher RES penetration and increased energy efficiency become the key drivers behind the process of decarbonization – a process that must include bioheat, a readily available, affordable, and efficient solution. But, to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, coherent measures and policies fostering real change must be implemented to immediate effect. The Switch4Air campaign has been developed to raise awareness on how bioenergy industry can contribute to the improvement of air quality.” www.switch4air.eu

European Forest Strategy

Information provided by Bioenergy Europe:

European Forest Strategy – Council Conclusions on Forest Strategy were backed by Farm Ministers on November 16th 2020. The Conclusions call on the Commission to come up with a post-2020 plan for the sector that serves wider policy aims on environment & climate, and is coherent with other long-term strategies and forest-related policies after 2020. They further call for a new “balanced & strengthened” post-2020 Forest Strategy. They emphasize the importance of healthy and resilient forests to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the implementation of the European Green Deal. Member States also support an approach that addresses the environmental, financial & social dimensions of sustainability, taking into account the diversity of European Forests. They call on the EU’s executive to consider the SDGs as the overall guiding principle for the new EU Forest Strategy, while also taking into account the Green Deal as the new policy framework at EU level. The new Strategy needs to address the resilience & adaptation to climate change of established European forests, through sustainable management. It should also enhance the sector’s contribution to the bio- & circular economy, creating more green jobs and viable rural areas.

Together with the main forest-based industries association (CEPF, EUSTAFOR, COPA COGECA, EOS, CEPI)  Bioenergy Europe has signed a joint letter asking the European Commission not to further delay the publication of the Forest Strategy. According to the EU Green Deal the new EU Forest Strategy was expected to be published in 2020. The Commission decided to postpone its publication to Q1 2021 (this is part of the Commission work programme) but at the same time they have adopted the EU Biodiversity Strategy.

Sustainable Finance Taxonomy

Information provided by Bioenergy Europe:

The European Commission published the Draft Delegated Act and Annexes including the sustainability requirements this week (Nov. 2020). A group of member states (including Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary)  sent a non-paper letter to the European Commission stressing that: Taxonomy Regulation stipulated as one of its main principles that the delegated regulation being developed must be based on the most recently agreed and enforced EU legislation to ensure the consistency with sectoral legislations and maintain investor certainty in the sectors. In the case of bioenergy, this is the current Renewable Energy Directive (EU 2018/2001).” The letter further underlined that the criteria for sustainable biomass cannot be credibly assessed at this stage as they are not yet implemented.

With a group of forest based Industry EU associations (Copa-Cogeca – EUSTAFOR – State Forests, CEPF – Confederation of European Forest Owners and EOS – Sawmill Industries) Bioenergy Europe sent a joint paper on the issue of Whole trees to Cabinets and relevant Commission.

With a group of 10 Renewable Energy Associations (European Biogas Association, European Geothermal Energy Council, European Heat Pumps Associations, European Renewable Energy Federation, ESTELA- Concentrated Solar Power Association, EUREC, European Ocean Energy Association, Solar Heat Europe, Solar Power Europe) Bioenergy Europe signed a joint letter asking for RES representation in the Sustainable Finance Platform.