After having marked the 10th anniversary of the creation of AVEBIOM, the Spanish Bioenergy Association, our efforts are turning to organising the 10th International Bioenergy Congress and corresponding edition of the Trade Fair for biomass professionals: Expobiomasa. This decade has seen the creation of a sector of professionals that, in Europe as a whole, now amounts to some 489,000 jobs, of which some thousands come from Spain.
The importance of bioenergy in the EU’s energy mix
The consumption of bioenergy in 2012 amounted to 102 Mtoe (million tonnes oil equivalent), almost double the figure for 2000. AEBIOM, the European Biomass Association, that represents 19 associations and encompasses over 4,000 companies, estimates that bioenergy will contribute more than 132 Mtoe to Europe’s energy mix by 2020. Other analyses, such as those recently undertaken by EurObserv’ER, indicate that the increase in energy produced from solid biomass in the EU is already taking place: 6.1% up between 2012 and 2013.
An analysis of the European energy mix reveals that bioenergy contributes 13.4% (74 Mtoe) of the final heating consumption in the EU and 4.5% (152 TWh) of the gross electricity generation. For Europeans, heating represents around 47% of the energy cost, and biomass contributes 89% of heat from renewable sources.
The energy dependency of Europe as a whole is common knowledge, with some countries having suffered from cuts in supply in the recent past. One of the objectives of most of the EU states is to improve the energy mix and reduce outside dependence to reasonable levels. As forecast some months back, the drop in the oil price was little more than a mirage: prices have already started to rise again and will probably continue to do so until it they are over US$100 per barrel.
In the light of these circumstances, all we can do is reiterate the necessity to European and Spanish politicians of achieving greater energy sovereignty, in other words, to reduce dependence on gas and petroleum imports. We must continue to promote bioenergy for thermal use, given that Europe enjoys enormous stocks of biomass, as reflected in the latest study from EUBIA, the European Biomass Industry Association. This study estimates a potential for residual biomass of 269 Mtoe in Europe and the aim is to achieve a figure in the region of 132 Mtoe by 2020 which, used sustainably, could cover a significant portion of our heating requirements, with no need to depend on third parties.
Jorge Herrero | AVEBIOM | Director de Expobiomasa AVEBIOM, Director of Expobiomasa