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A coherent European Industrial Strategy is vital for an inclusive energy transition

Date

10 Mar 2020

Sections

Energy

Brussels, 10 March 2020 - Bioenergy Europe welcomes the new European Industrial Strategy. This document provides important reference for the development of the European industry. It underlines the need for transformation of the European industry in an environment of increasing global competition.

We are particularly happy that the EC conveyed an important message that the EU “will need a more strategic approach to renewable energy industries […] and the supply chain underpinning them.” We would like to emphasize that renewable energy is not just a solution to decarbonisation. It is also a dynamic sector of the economy which development will fuel the economic growth of the EU and strengthen social cohesion.

According to IRENA, from 1,2 million direct and indirect jobs in the EU today, renewable energy will create 2.7 million jobs in Europe. Bioenergy is already the biggest source of green jobs in the EU with 703.000 jobs in the sector. Its overall turnover is worth EUR 60,6 billion equal to 0,37% of EU’s GDP.

Crucially, the bioenergy sector is overwhelmingly localized within the EU. There were at least 50.000 businesses active in bioenergy sector in 2018 in the EU, and around 74% of the technology suppliers are based in Europe. It generates positive trade balance of approximately EUR 5 billion. The development of bioenergy value chain provides an additional stream of revenue for local communities and creates local jobs. Its future growth is, therefore, crucial for the successful just energy transition.

Bioenergy covers 11% of the total EU industry demand: the industrial use of bioheat is ¼ of the final energy consumption of bioenergy. Bioheat produced at large scale (in dedicated plants and combined heat and power) is often cost-competitive with fossil fuel alternatives. Bioenergy is one of the few solutions available to decarbonize several industrial processes where high temperatures and pressures are required.

Robust industrial policy for renewables is critical to ensure Europe’s long-term security of energy supply and technology leadership. It is urgent to deliver an ambitious industrial strategy for renewables encompassing both supply-side and demand-side policies and enable a “renewable sector-integration”. Otherwise, the EU’s technological sovereignty in this sector will be increasingly challenged.

Jean-Marc Jossart, Bioenergy Europe Secretary-General, said: “Maintaining the technological autonomy of a strategic sector such as the renewables is vital for a successful and inclusive transition to a carbon-neutral economy. The European Industrial Strategy should carefully shape bold and coherent measures that fully promote this distinctiveness and ensure job creation and vibrant economic growth in Europe."

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