Bioenergy should have a significant role alongside other types of renewable energy

Environment, climate and energy, Statements | 09-05-2016

Sustainable production and use of bioenergy plays a very essential role in the Stockholm region’s and Sweden’s energy mix, and should have a significant role alongside other types of renewable energy in order to achieve the EU’s climate goals for 2030 and a sustainable society. This is Stockholm Region statement of opinion regarding a sustainable bioenergy policy after 2020.

Sustainable production and use of bioenergy plays a very essential role in the Stockholm region’s and Sweden’s energy mix, and should have a significant role alongside other types of renewable energy in order to achieve the EU’s climate goals for 2030 and a sustainable society.

Summary:

  • The future’s energy mix: The Stockholm Region would like to stress its view that bioenergy plays an important role in the future’s energy mix and must be promoted as one of several energy carriers – along with wind, solar and Biomass already contributes to a considerable proportion of the Stockholm region’s and Sweden’s fuel needs, and is very important in the overall energy mix, but obviously there is potential for improvement.
  • The production of biofuels from crops: The Stockholm Region believes that biofuels from crops is a key tool to counter the strong trend we are seeing with the abandonment of farmland and farming. Since 1990, 15 percent of agricultural land within the EU has been abandoned, and an additional 10 percent is expected to be abandoned over the next 25 years. This has resulted in a huge loss of biodiversity. Since the farms with the most biodiversity are those particularly at risk of abandonment, and with the excess capacity in food production, it is necessary to find crops other than food in order to keep these farms alive. Additionally, small improvements in the production of conventional biofuels from crops can easily reduce climate emissions by over 90 percent, and as long as there is an overabundance of farmland and a risk of land abandonment in the EU, the sustainable production of biofuels from crops should be promoted and further developed in parallel with advanced biofuels.
  • The EU’s role:
    • With regard to the EU’s role, the Union should promote the sustainable production of biofuels from crops, combined with the exchange of information of best available production practices and assist in the development of crop varieties and agricultural practices that are adapted to local conditions.
    • It is also important that the EU’s framework allows those countries that are at the forefront in providing incentives for renewable fuels and renewable energy (such as Sweden, which makes use of its opt-out from energy and carbon dioxide tax in order to make renewable energy from both first and second generation biofuels competitive).
    • The Stockholm Region would also like to express that first-generation biofuels offer a significant cost reduction for farmers in developing countries, providing both income and generating investments in the modernisation of farming. It also provides an opportunity for oil-importing countries such as those in Sub-Saharan Africa to reduce imports and improve their balance of trade. National and international regulations, conventions and voluntary certification schemes for the monitoring of unsustainable forestry and agriculture exist, but the monitoring of their level of compliance is not sufficient. The EU should support developing countries with methods and tools, and possibly even satellite data for surveillance and monitoring.
    • Additional policies are needed for biomass and liquid biofuels, but the EU’s and national policies for biomass in liquid and gaseous form are sufficient. The current goal of 10 percent renewable energy within the transport sector has already been achieved in Sweden. The EU’s objectives for future periods must be in line with the Paris agreements, in other words, they must be far more ambitious.
  • Development of innovation and technology: The EU’s framework for the market must be predictable and have a long-term focus, particularly in bringing about the necessary large-scale investments within innovative technology. It is important that this framework and support facilitates large-scale pilot projects and market take-off for new technologies in actual use.

Read the full statement of opinion by downloading PDF in English or Swedish.