CT4 - 6th Plenary Meeting in Brussels
Highlights Core Theme 4: Biomass Mobilisation and Sustainability
Headline 1: Guidance on the New Sustainability Criteria for Forest Biomass
During the first session of Core Theme 4, the discussions focused primarily on the European Commission guidance document in preparation on the implementation of the new risk-based sustainability criteria for forest biomass laid down in Article 29(6) - harvesting criteria and 29(7) - LULUCF criteria - of RED II. Preliminary results from the DG ENER technical assistance project (REDIIBIO) were presented. Hungary also presented its strategy on forest management as well as its sustainable criteria for forestry in order to guarantee long-term sustainability. The discussions were mainly based on the questions from the Member States collected through the questionnaire and the questions brought by the team in charge of the REDIIBIO project. The exchange of information between the participants and the REDIIBIO team was very useful. One of the main recommendations of the participants is to build on existing sustainable forest management systems which are already widely implemented across the EU.
Headline 2: Guidance on the New Sustainability Criteria for Agricultural Biomass
The second session had a similar format, but the focus was instead on discussing sustainability criteria for agricultural biomass, in particular on the European Commission guidance document in preparation for the implementation of the new sustainability criteria for agricultural biomass laid down in Article 29(2) for waste and residues and 29(3)(b) for highly bio-diverse forests. Biomass fuels produced from waste and residues derived from agricultural land are taken into account for the target achievement only where operators or national authorities have monitoring to address the impacts on soil quality and soil carbon and shall not be made from raw material obtained from land with a high biodiversity value. Results from the REDIIBIO project (see above) were presented and questions were addressed to the participants, including methodologies and tools to assess and demonstrate compliance with the sustainability criteria, to stimulate discussions with all CT4 participants. One of the main recommendations of the participants is to rely more on existing evidences from CAP and LULUCF regulations.
Headline 3: Verification of Compliance with the Sustainability Criteria
The discussions during the third CT4 session covered many topics related to verification of compliance especially for solid biomass for electricity and heat. The impact of the new sustainability criteria and the implementing issues were discussed. The European Commission provided clarification on many details of the sustainability and verification articles regarding the use of existing frameworks for sustainability and requirements for efficiency. Further, mass balance and the market risk of using non-sustainable biomass sources were discussed. The final results of the tasks force for reporting biomass for RED and Governance Regulation were presented.