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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In the same manner biomas is defined (for the monitoring purposes under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS)) in the 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.

 

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.

 

GHG emissions from using biomass for electricity generation do not fall under the EU ETS, therefore biomass has an advantage over fossil energy sources subject to the EU ETS.

 

However, European Parliament Briefing “Biomass for electricity and heating, Opportunities and challenges”of September 2015 observes that EU ETS allowances in a price range of €15-25 per tonne may encourage the use of biomass as a fuel, but are too low to incentivise the construction of new biomass plants.

 

In 2013, the European Parliament and Council adopted a Decision defining accounting rules for GHG from land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF), as a first step towards the inclusion of those activities in the EU emissions-reduction commitment.

 

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

 

The EU Renewable Energy Directive does not specify sustainability criteria for biomass, while setting such detailed criteria for biofuels (this is going to change with the Fit for 55 proposals).

 

In 2010, the European Commission listed non-binding sustainability criteria regarding biomass for electricity and heating, and recommended their adoption by Member States.

 

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 European Commission adopted a new EU forest strategy in 2013 addressing the use of forests for the purposes, among others, biomass and bioenergy.

 

The European Commission in the so-called Winter Energy Package (COM/2016/0767 final) included the extensive and detailed rules on sustainability and greenhouse gas emissions saving criteria for biofuels, bioliquids and biomass fuels (Article 29 of the RED II).

 

 

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;

- to apply the EU sustainability criteria to smaller heat and power installations (equal or above 5MW).

 

   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.