CT4 - 1st Plenary Meeting in Bratislava
Highlights Core Theme 4: Biomass Mobilisation and Sustainability
Headline 1: Competitiveness of Bioenergy Systems
Biomass mobilisation requires favourable and facilitating environments and conditions along the whole value chains. It is becoming increasingly clear that administrative costs, burdens, evidence, detailed regulations, barriers that (if any) ought to be placed on the fossil fuels instead are being increasingly placed on bioenergy routes. During the first CT4 session, participants discussed methods to improve competitiveness of their priority bioenergy sectors. Current sustainability criteria are already influencing the effectiveness of biomass mobilisation and biomass trade. Criteria for the assesment of alternative bioenergy pathways regarding efficient resource use, ecosystem impacts, business case and markets and socio-economic aspects were presented and discussed. Participants explored the issue of how to increase the use of domestic biomass, while still staying within competition rules.
Headline 2: Biomass Waste Mobilisation and Circular Economy
During this session, the EC communication on waste to energy and the circular economy was discussed. There appears to be potential to increase the energy efficiency of waste-to-energy processes. However, in the long run, increased waste prevention and waste separation may reduce the share of waste-to-energy in favour of recycling. Initiatives and measures taken or envisaged to implement the principles of circular economy and fostering biomass waste mobilisation were discussed. CT4 participants came to the conclusion that circular economy and waste management policies will lead to a significant increase in biogas potential.
Headline 3: Economic Sustainability of Existing Bioenergy Installations
Different renewable energy policies in Member States have contributed to significant investments in new and diversified bioenergy systems. Most systems have received subsidies (investment or production aid) ensuring a sufficient profitability, at least during first production years. Nevertheless, the profitability of OPEX-driven technologies, such as bioenergy systems, remains uncertain and very sensitive to market prices evolution (energy and feedstock) and sectorial or environmental policies evolution (including biomass sustainability criteria). Consequently, in contrast to wind or solar systems (CAPEX-driven technologies), energy production from these existing installations is not guaranteed until the end of their initially scheduled technical or economic lifetime. During the 3rd CT4 session, participants discussed methods to mitigate the risk of unexpected or untimely dismantling of existing bioenergy installations. Participants came to the conclusion that potential shutdown of bioenergy systems is very country-specific and that multiple risk factors, including market prices, sustainability criteria and heat demand for CHP, play a role. CT4 participants also discussed, if the potential contribution of biomass-fired power plants to the flexibility on the electricity market is sufficiently taken into account.