Public Consultation: A sustainable bioenergy policy after 2020

EnergyThe European Commission has launched a public consultation to review its policy framework on sustainable bioenergy post-2020. The objective of this consultation is to consult stakeholders and citizens on an updated EU policy on sustainable bioenergy for the period 2020-2030, as part of the EU renewable energy package foreseen before the end of 2016.

The current Renewable Energy Directive (Directive 2009/28/EC) has been subject to an evaluation under the Commission’s Regulatory Fitness Programme (REFIT). The main findings of this REFIT evaluation broadly confirmed the Directive’s effectiveness but highlighted a number of shortcomings, such as biofuels and biomass sustainability.

The Renewable Energy Package for the period after 2020, which feeds into the 2030 Climate and Energy Framework, will be developed in parallel to those on the design of the electricity market and energy efficiency.

ECOS has focused its response on underlining the risks associated with bioenergy production and use in the absence of sustainability requirements and consideration of all direct and indirect effects, in particular of land use change and carbon emissions. We have also highlighted the current, risky, trade-offs made under the EU’s bioenergy sustainability scheme, which may result in increasing unsustainable energy demand.

Though we argue that standardisation could be helpful in laying down minimum sustainability criteria for bioenergy, we remain cautious in referring to such standards until these comprehensively cover all sustainability aspects, and are commonly approved within the EU. At any rate, legislation should first set ambition levels and if appropriate, use standardisation to lay down definitions and indicators to ensure harmonised understanding and facilitate implementation of such requirements. Standards should in no way be seen as a substitute for strong regulation.

Our full response is available here