Biomass is the main renewable energy source in the EU, it contributed in 2021 to about 10% of the EU’s overall energy consumption and 60% of renewable energy consumption.


RED II Directive (Directive (EU) 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (recast)), in Article 2(24) - (28) introduces the following definitions (respectively):

- ‘biomass’ - the biodegradable fraction of products, waste and residues from biological origin from agriculture, including vegetal and animal substances, from forestry and related industries, including fisheries and aquaculture, as well as the biodegradable fraction of waste, including industrial and municipal waste of biological origin;
- ‘agricultural biomass’ - biomass produced from agriculture;

- ‘forest biomass’ - biomass produced from forestry;

- ‘biomass fuels’ - gaseous and solid fuels produced from biomass;

- ‘biogas’ - gaseous fuels produced from biomass.

                
          
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According to Article 3(31) of the Directive 2010/75/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on industrial emissions of 24 November 2010 (integrated pollution prevention and control - IED) ‘biomass’ means any of the following:

 

(a) products consisting of any vegetable matter from agriculture or forestry which can be used as a fuel for the purpose of recovering its energy content;


(b) the following waste:
(i) vegetable waste from agriculture and forestry;
(ii) vegetable waste from the food processing industry, if the heat generated is recovered;
(iii) fibrous vegetable waste from virgin pulp production and from production of paper from pulp, if it is co-incinerated at the place of production and the heat generated is recovered;
(iv) cork waste;
(v) wood waste with the exception of wood waste which may contain halogenated organic compounds or heavy metals as a result of treatment with wood preservatives or coating and which includes, in particular, such wood waste originating from construction and demolition waste.

In the same manner 'biomass' is defined in Article 3(18) of Directive (EU) 2015/2193 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2015 on the limitation of emissions of certain pollutants into the air from medium combustion plants (MCP).

 

Given that carbon released when solid biomass is burned will be re-absorbed during tree growth, greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) associated with biomass combustion are treated preferentially - i.e. GHG emissions from using biomass for electricity generation do not fall under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).

This "zero-carbon rating' gives the biomass significant advantage over fossil energy sources subject to the EU ETS and is based on the assumption that the carbon released from the combustion of biomass is equal to that which has been absorbed and accounted during the growth phase.

 

 

Sustainable biomass

 

 

The EU Renewable Energy Directive (RED I) set mandatory sustainability criteria for transport biofuels and bioliquids used in other sectors. However, under RED I the European Commission has adopted only non-binding recommendations for Member States regarding sustainability requirements on the use of solid and gaseous biomass sources in the energy sector - Commission Report of 25 February 2010 on sustainability requirements for the use of solid and gaseous biomass sources in electricity, heating and cooling (this is going to change with the Fit for 55 proposals).

The above Recommendations were similar to those applied for biofuels and bioliquids and were applicable to biomass installations with a minimum of 1 MW electric or thermal capacity.

Additional recommendations included the design of national support schemes to stimulate higher efficiency of bioenergy plants and to keep records of the origin of primary biomass used in the energy sector.

Due to the lack of a harmonised and binding sustainability scheme, under RED I many EU Member States and market participants have independently developed their own voluntary sustainability schemes and certificates to prove the sustainability of biomass use.

 

Sustainability schemes relevant to energy biomass are, in particular, the following:

- Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP) certification system for woody biomass,

- ENplus certification for wood pellets,

- criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management by Forest Europe,

- certification schemes for forestry products (e.g. FSC and PEFC).


The EU sustainability criteria are extended to cover biomass for heating and cooling and power generation in the revised RED II (Directive (EU) 2018/2001). As the integral part of the European Commission's so-called 'Winter Energy Package' (COM/2016/0767 final) extensive and detailed rules on sustainability and greenhouse gas emissions saving criteria for biofuels, bioliquids and biomass fuels were adopted (Article 29 of the RED II).

 

The RED II implicitly recognises that biomass use is not sustainable by default, and that additional criteria are indispensable to mitigate the risk of unsustainable use of biomass in the EU.

The RED II, moreover:
- lays down rules on financial support to enhance the use of renewable energy, such as bioenergy;
- drives biomass use for energy with sustainability criteria to mitigate the risks of unsustainable biomass use;
- includes caps on the use of stem wood above a certain size for energy purposes, applying existing agricultural biomass no-go areas for forest biomass;
- introduces cap on high indirect land use change-risk biofuels;
- sets out biodiversity risks.
 

The EU countries were required to transpose the new rules by 30 June 2021, and the voluntary schemes have to adjust the certification approaches to meet the new requirements.

 

Additional rules are enshrined in the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2022/996 of 14 June 2022 on rules to verify sustainability and greenhouse gas emissions saving criteria and low indirect land-use change-risk criteria.

 

Interested voluntary schemes are invited to apply for recognition by the Commission under the new sustainability framework. More information about the recognition process can be found in the call for interest and the updated assessment protocol.

 

In this regard on 12 April 2022 in the EU Official Journal were published:

- Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2022/606 of 8 April 2022 on the recognition of the “Round Table on Responsible Soy with EU RED Requirements (RTRS EU RED)” voluntary scheme for demonstrating compliance with the requirements set in Directive (EU) 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council for biofuels, bioliquids, biomass fuels, renewable liquid and gaseous fuels of non-biological origin and recycled carbon fuels,

-Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2022/604 of 8 April 2022 on the recognition of the ‘Red Tractor Farm Assurance Crops and Sugar Beet Scheme’ voluntary scheme for demonstrating compliance with the requirements set in Directive (EU) 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council for biofuels, bioliquids, biomass fuels, renewable liquid and gaseous fuels of non-biological origin and recycled carbon fuels,

- Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2022/605 of 8 April 2022 on the recognition of the ‘REDcert-EU’ voluntary scheme for demonstrating compliance with the requirements set in Directive (EU) 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council for biofuels, bioliquids, biomass fuels, renewable liquid and gaseous fuels of non-biological origin and recycled carbon fuels,

- Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2022/603 of 8 April 2022 on the recognition of the ‘KZR INiG’ scheme for demonstrating compliance with the requirements set in Directive (EU) 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council for biofuels, bioliquids, biomass fuels, renewable liquid and gaseous fuels of non-biological origin and recycled carbon fuels,

- Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2022/609 of 8 April 2022 on the recognition of the ‘SURE’ voluntary scheme for demonstrating compliance with the requirements set in Directive (EU) 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council for biofuels, bioliquids, biomass fuels, renewable liquid and gaseous fuels of non-biological origin and recycled carbon fuels,  

- Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2022/608 of 8 April 2022 on the recognition of the ‘Scottish Quality Crops Farm Assurance Scheme (SQC)’ for demonstrating compliance with the requirements set in Directive (EU) 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council for biofuels, bioliquids, biomass fuels, renewable liquid and gaseous fuels of non-biological origin and recycled carbon fuels,

- Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2022/607 of 8 April 2022 on the recognition of the ‘Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) EU RED’ voluntary scheme for demonstrating compliance with the requirements set in Directive (EU) 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council for biofuels, bioliquids, biomass fuels, renewable liquid and gaseous fuels of non-biological origin and recycled carbon fuels,

- Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2022/611 of 8 April 2022 on the recognition of the ‘Universal Feed Assurance Scheme (UFAS)’ for demonstrating compliance with the requirements set in Directive (EU) 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council for biofuels, bioliquids, biomass fuels, renewable liquid and gaseous fuels of non-biological origin and recycled carbon fuels,

Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2022/599 of 8 April 2022 on the recognition of the Biomass Biofuels Sustainability voluntary scheme (2BSvs) for demonstrating compliance with the requirements set in Directive (EU) 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council for biofuels, bioliquids, biomass fuels, renewable liquid and gaseous fuels of non-biological origin and recycled carbon fuels,

- Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2022/600 of 8 April 2022 on the recognition of the ‘Bonsucro EU’ voluntary scheme for demonstrating compliance with the requirements set in Directive (EU) 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council for biofuels, bioliquids, biomass fuels, renewable liquid and gaseous fuels of non-biological origin and recycled carbon fuels,

- Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2022/601 of 8 April 2022 on the recognition of the ‘Better Biomass’ voluntary scheme for demonstrating compliance with the requirements set in Directive (EU) 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council for biofuels, bioliquids, biomass fuels, renewable liquid and gaseous fuels of non-biological origin and recycled carbon fuels

- Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2022/602 of 8 April 2022 on the recognition of the ‘International Sustainability & Carbon Certification – ISCC EU’ voluntary scheme for demonstrating compliance with the requirements set in Directive (EU) 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council for biofuels, bioliquids, biomass fuels, renewable liquid and gaseous fuels of non-biological origin and recycled carbon fuels,

- Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2022/610 of 8 April 2022 on the recognition of the ‘Trade Assurance Scheme for Combinable Crops (TASCC)’ for demonstrating compliance with the requirements set in Directive (EU) 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council for biofuels, bioliquids, biomass fuels, renewable liquid and gaseous fuels of non-biological origin and recycled carbon fuels.


In the same manner as the RED II biomas is defined for the monitoring purposes under the EU ETS in Article 3(21) of the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/2066 of 19 December 2018 on the monitoring and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions pursuant to Directive 2003/87/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and amending Commission Regulation (EU) No 601/2012 (MRR).

  

The MRR was amended by Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/2085 in order to align the provisions regarding the emissions from biomass with the rules laid down in Directive (EU) 2018/2001, in particular as regards the relevant definitions and the sustainability and greenhouse gas emission saving criteria for the use of biomass.

Following those amendments, the provisions regarding the sustainability and greenhouse gas emissions saving criteria for the use of biomass apply from 1 January 2022.

 

However, on 14 December 2021 the European Commission opened the public feedback period on Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) amending Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/2066 with the purpose to amend Article 38 of the MRR regarding the timing for applying certain rules on the monitoring and reporting of emissions and in particular the zero-rating of emissions from the combustion of sustainable biomass and on 8 March 2022 Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2022/388 amending Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/2066 on the monitoring and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions pursuant to Directive 2003/87/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council was adopted.

 

Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2003/87/EC establishing a system for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Union, Decision (EU) 2015/1814 concerning the establishment and operation of a market stability reserve for the Union greenhouse gas emission trading scheme and Regulation (EU) 2015/757 (COM(2021) 551 final) envisions the amendment to the Annex IV to Directive 2003/87/EC replacing the existing rule: 

“The emission factor for biomass shall be zero”

with the following:

“The emission factor for biomass that complies with the sustainability criteria and greenhouse gas emission saving criteria for the use of biomass established by Directive (EU) 2018/2001, with any necessary adjustments for application under this Directive, as set out in the implementing acts referred to in Article 14, shall be zero”.

 

The RED II criteria are complementary to the safeguards set out by EU climate and environmental legislation, in particular by the Regulation on Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry 2018/841 (LULUCF). The regulation makes sure that all sectors contribute to the EU's 2030 emission reduction target, including the land use sector. The LULUCF Regulation was adopted in 2013 as a first step towards the inclusion of those activities in the EU emissions-reduction commitment.
In 2013 a new EU forest strategy was also adopted by the European Commission to address the use of forests for the purposes, among others, biomass and bioenergy.

 

At global level, REDD+ Programme aims to address emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and to promote sustainable forest management.

 

 

Fit for 55 amendments

 

 

Under the Fit for 55 amendments (Communication of 14 July 2021 ('Fit for 55': delivering the EU's 2030 Climate Target on the way to climate neutrality, COM/2021/550 final) the European Commission proposes the following measures:

- to prohibit national financial incentives for using saw or veneer logs, stumps and roots for energy generation;

- to prohibit the sourcing of biomass for energy production from primary forests, peatlands and wetlands;

- to eliminate support for forest biomass in electricity-only installations as of 2026;
- to require all biomass-based heat and power installations to comply with minimum greenhouse gas saving thresholds.

 

It is particularly noteworthy that the Fit for 55 amendments apply the EU sustainability criteria to smaller heat and power installations (equal or above 5MW). Recital 35 of the RED II reads:

'To ensure higher environmental effectiveness of the Union sustainability and greenhouse emissions saving criteria for solid biomass fuels in installations producing heating, electricity and cooling, the minimum threshold for the applicability of such criteria should be lowered from the current 20 MW to 5 MW".

 

   info        

Fit for 55 - Sustainable Bioenergy Factsheet


Sustainable bioenergy reinforced criteria in line with the EU Biodiversity Strategy will:

• prohibit sourcing biomass for energy production from primary forests, peatlands and wetlands
• no support for forest biomass in electricity-only installations as of 2026 • Prohibit national financial incentives for using saw or veneer logs, stumps and roots for energy generation
• require all biomass-based heat and power installations to comply with minimum greenhouse gas saving thresholds
• apply the EU sustainability criteria to smaller heat and power installations (equal or above 5MW)



 

 

 

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European Commission Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive (EU) 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Directive 98/70/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the promotion of energy from renewable sources, and repealing Council Directive (EU) 2015/652, COM(2021) 557 final

Recital 4

[...] in order to ensure a more efficient use of bioenergy, from 2026 on Member States should not give support anymore to electricity-only plants, unless the installations are in regions with a specific use status as regards their transition away from fossil fuels or if the installations use carbon capture and storage.

Article 3 is amended as follows:

...

b) paragraph 3 is replaced by the following:

‘3. Member States shall take measures to ensure that energy from biomass is produced in a way that minimises undue distortive effects on the biomass raw material market and harmful impacts on biodiversity. To that end , they shall take into account the waste hierarchy as set out in Article 4 of Directive 2008/98/EC and the cascading principle referred to in the third subparagraph.

As part of the measures referred to in the first subparagraph:

(a) Member States shall grant no support for:
(i) the use of saw logs, veneer logs, stumps and roots to produce energy.
(ii) the production of renewable energy produced from the incineration of waste if the separate collection obligations laid down in Directive 2008/98/EC have not been complied with.
(iii) practices which are not in line with the delegated act referred to in the third subparagraph.

(b) From 31 December 2026, and without prejudice to the obligations in the first sub- paragraph, Member States shall grant no support to the production of electricity from forest biomass in electricity-only-installations, unless such electricity meets at least one of the following conditions:
(i) it is produced in a region identified in a territorial just transition plan approved by the European Commission, in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2021/... of the European Parliament and the Council establishing the Just Transition Fund due to its reliance on solid fossil fuels, and meets the relevant requirements set in Article 29(11);
(ii) it is produced applying Biomass CO2 Capture and Storage and meets the requirements set in Article 29(11), second subparagraph.
No later than one year after [the entry into force of this amending Directive], the Commission shall adopt a delegated act in accordance with Article 35 on how to apply the cascading principle for biomass, in particular on how to minimise the use of quality roundwood for energy production, with a focus on support schemes and with due regard to national specificities.
By 2026 the Commission shall present a report on the impact of the Member States’ support schemes for biomass, including on biodiversity and possible market distortions, and will assess the possibility for further limitations regarding support schemes to forest biomass.’


 

 

 

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Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2003/87/EC establishing a system for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Union, Decision (EU) 2015/1814 concerning the establishment and operation of a market stability reserve for the Union greenhouse gas emission trading scheme and Regulation (EU) 2015/757, COM(2021) 551 final, 2021/0211 (COD)

Annex IV to Directive 2003/87/EC is amended as follows:

in Part A, the section “Calculation” is amended as follows:

(i) in the fourth subparagraph, the last sentence “The emission factor for biomass shall be zero.” is replaced by the following: “The emission factor for biomass that complies with the sustainability criteria and greenhouse gas emission saving criteria for the use of biomass established by Directive (EU) 2018/2001, with any necessary adjustments for application under this Directive, as set out in the implementing acts referred to in Article 14, shall be zero.”;

(ii) the sixth subparagraph is replaced by the following:

“Default oxidation factors developed pursuant to Directive 2010/75/EU shall be used, unless the operator can demonstrate that activity-specific factors are more accurate.”;

(b) in Part B, section “Monitoring of carbon dioxide emissions”, fourth subparagraph, the last sentence “The emission factor for biomass shall be zero.” is replaced by the following: “The emission factor for biomass that complies with the sustainability criteria and greenhouse gas emission saving criteria for the use of biomass established by Directive (EU) 2018/2001, with any necessary adjustments for application under this Directive, as set out in the implementing acts referred to in Article 14, shall be zero.”

 

 

 

Taxonomy

 


For the taxonomy requirements for electricity generation from bioenergy see Taxonomy - electricity generation from bioenergy.