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Commission fails on Europe's largest renewable energy source – again!

The EU wants to quickly become independent of Russian fossil fuels in order to minimize the flow of money to Putin's war. But the European Commission's REPowerEU proposal on how this should be done has major shortcomings, says Gustav Melin, CEO of Svebio, the Swedish Bioenergy Association.

Photo: iStock

The European Commission, once again, demonstrates its opposition to bioenergy solutions. This is despite the fact that solid and liquid biofuels already account for 60 percent of all renewable energy in the EU and have the potential to rapidly replace even more fossil fuels in heating, transport and industry.

Not least, biomass- and waste for energy can replace fossil fuels in district heating and electricity production. The Nordic and Baltic countries have already been able to demonstrate this in practice.

Unrealistic venture

Instead, the Commission wants to make an unrealistic investment in hydrogen, a solution that is very costly and will not reduce imports of Russian gas for many years.

While bioenergy is mentioned in a single paragraph of the Commission’s REPowerEU report, hydrogen is mentioned 45 times in the document.

Lithuania a role model

District heating is mentioned in the document, yet nothing about the renewable fuels that can be used to replace fossil fuels used in district heating. Lithuania has led the way when it comes to fuel transition in district heating.

In recent years, the country has replaced virtually all imported Russian gas with its own biomass and taken advantage of its waste for energy recovery. The transition has resulted in energy independence, lower energy prices and ten thousand new jobs. With bioenergy Lithuania has been able to say stop to all Russian gas thanks to this strategic change. The European Commission ought to go to Vilnius and study this good example.

Bioenergy transition underway

Fortunately, the development will not be as the European Commission believes. High prices for coal, natural gas, electricity and emission allowances are already making bioenergy a main option, and lots of conversions from fossil fuels to bioenergy are in full swing. Demand for woodchips, pellets and other biofuels is now very high, as is the demand for bioenergy technology.

– Market players are looking for functional and cost-effective renewable energy solutions that are available here and now. Bioenergy is one such proven source, says Gustav Melin.

Read more about Lithuanias work with bioenergy here (in Swedish).

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