As EU lawmakers return to Brussels after the New Year holiday, they are prepping for a major battle over a proposed revision of the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive. While the headline battle will be over whether national governments in the EU Council are successful in watering down the EU’s 2030 renewables target from 45% to 40%, a more niche issue is turning into one of the most contentious aspects of the negotiations between member states and MEPs: how much woody biomass to count toward that target.
But biomass associations, utilities and some local authorities warn this could kill a developing market for fossil fuel alternatives when such alternatives are desperately needed. Also last month, a group of 70 companies and organisations wrote a letter to members of the Parliament asking them to reconsider their position before negotiations started with the Council – noting that a loss of biomass would be particularly harmful for district heating systems. The letter, coordinated by the district heating association Euroheat & Power, was signed by major energy companies such as EDF, Engie, Uniper and PGE.