Report says EU biomass demand to grow

July 11, 2011
Written by RISI
July 11, 2011, Brussels, Belgium – Renewable energy policy in Europe will generate an increase in lignocellulosic biomass demand of 44% between 2010 and 2020, predicts the European Biomass Review, a new study from RISI. The increased use of biomass will be driven principally from the energy sector, but also from the industrial and residential sectors.

What is the potential to increase regional supply for biomass from forest and other sources, and what actions are being taken to release the potential? The key to the future development of European biomass markets resides in the region's supply potential and how well it can mobilize new sources of supply such as forest residues, agricultural residues, and energy crops. Three scenarios for the mobilization of new supply sources by 2020 are included for each region in the European Biomass Review. A cost-curve analysis for each region and each scenario illustrates the implications for biomass pricing and imports.

While technologies such as wind, solar, and geothermal are developing rapidly, lignocellulosic biomass is currently the largest renewable energy source and remains attractive due to its relative abundance and reliable supply. The economics of biomass versus other renewable energy sources is analyzed in the study using macro demand drivers and the National Renewable Energy Action Plans (NREAPs) to forecast biomass demand by sector until 2020.

"The NREAPs offer insights into how governments plan to meet the renewable energy targets by 2020," says study author Glen O'Kelly, "but forecast biomass demand is based on announced investments, carbon costs, and the relative economics of biomass, as well as an analysis of macro drivers: forecast GDP, population, household energy use, forest industry production."

The European Biomass Review covers the EU27 countries, combined with Norway and Switzerland, with breakdowns for five regions (North, West, East, and South Europe, and UK-Ireland). It highlights opportunities for global biomass exporters, as well as the need to develop infrastructure such as ports and terminals for supply chains, biomass futures, and hedging instruments.

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