Graph of the day: Biomass in the EU

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20% renewable energy by 2020, this is what the EU has agreed to achieve. When we hear this phrase we imagine a Europe powered by wind and solar, perhaps even a wave machine or two. A closer look however indicates that our expectations and reality are somewhat different. The 20% renewables target will be met mostly by energy from biomass, that is things such as burning wood or biofuels as transport fuel. There are good arguments that this amount of biomass is far from sustainable, but I will leave that for another post.

 

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Sources of renewable energy in the EU projected to 2020
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5 thoughts on “Graph of the day: Biomass in the EU

    Chris Stephenson (@stopheles) said:
    April 14, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    It might be worth noting that last October, after the graph was published, the EU did revise its 10% biofuel-from-food-crops target down to 5%, precisely owing to issues around sustainability. http://ec.europa.eu/energy/renewables/targets_en.htm

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      Robert Wilson said:
      April 14, 2013 at 11:23 pm

      How does this change the graph? Do you imagine that we are magically going to start buying electric cars in their millions? Is this other 5% going to be biofuels that aren’t environmentally damaging, because I am not aware of any that don’t suffer from the core problem, namely low energy density.

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    Alan N said:
    April 15, 2013 at 9:39 am

    I suspect the only biofuels that are not environmentally damaging are those derived from waste by-products. They would certainly not be able to meet a 5% target.

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    Chris Stephenson (@stopheles) said:
    April 15, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    It changes the graph because it is not as realistic an overall target. Something else will have to compensate for the magic 20%. More biomass perhaps. Has nothing to do with cars per se, fossil diesel will make up that requirement quite happily of course.

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    Caitlin said:
    April 25, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    Interesting to see how much faith the EU are putting into biomass, though as you say there are definitely some concerns over if this can be matched in the long term without significant investment into the underlying technologies. Hopefully we will see steps from the EU to improve investment into biofuels otherwise their projections are essentially just hot air.

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