Fortum's response to the consultation on bioenergy – harmonisation and long-term certainty for future EU bioenergy policy

13 May 2016, 13:23 EEST

Fortum has submitted its response to the public consultation of the European Commission on a sustainable bioenergy policy for the period after 2020.

Fortum welcomes the initiative of the European Commission to define a sustainable EU bioenergy policy for the period post-2020.  For years now, Fortum has been calling for the introduction of a binding European sustainability framework for all bioenergy. In Fortum's opinion, a new policy covering all types of bioenergy (solid, liquid, gaseous) is needed. Sustainability criteria should apply to the origin of all biomass, regardless of end use: industry, energy production or transport.

In its response to the public consultation, Fortum highlights that bioenergy should continue to play an important role in the renewable energy mix, but the share of other renewable energy sources (such as solar, wind and hydro) should also increase significantly. The political framework for the use of biomass is, however, increasingly uncertain in the EU. Divergent national sustainability rules and fragmented support schemes become a barrier to biomass trading and make it more difficult and costly to meet the increasing demand for biomass use in electricity and heat production.

The overall key objective of an improved future EU bioenergy sustainability policy is to have harmonised and legally binding EU-wide sustainability criteria for all bioenergy. That  would ensure long-term legal certainty for operators and guarantee that biomass consumed in Europe is sustainable. This framework will allow the bioenergy sector to keep expanding and providing the multiple benefits of bioenergy.

Harmonised sustainability criteria for all bioenergy would increase the predictability and stability of the operating environment, ensure proper functioning and transparency of the biomass markets, increase the use of sustainable biomass in energy production, and promote the transition from fossil fuels to renewable and carbon-neutral biomass fuels.

The EU policy framework on the sustainability of bioenergy should establish a harmonised, balanced, pragmatic, non-bureaucratic and effective approach to proving the sustainability of biomass. It should be a combination of better implementation of the existing legislation, guidance and further utilisation of voluntary systems and new elements to complement the existing policy. The policy framework should combine all these elements into a coherent package, either as part of the new RES directive or as a separate sustainability policy package.

For further information, see the attached response to the consultation.