The European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union (EU) that is responsible for proposing legislation, is undertaking a review of its renewable energy program, including proposed amendments to the sustainability and eligibility criteria for biomass under the Renewable Energy Directive (RED). CPA collaborated with the European Panel Federation (EPF) to develop comments on the proposed amendments, specifically regarding subsidies for energy generation using biomass sources. Under current EU rules, biomass energy receives subsidies, potentially distorting the market for wood residuals in those regions that supply the EU with biomass, including North America. CPA’s comments endorsed the principle of the “cascading use” of woody biomass, as proposed in the RED. This principle outlines a hierarchy of best uses of materials such as woody biomass, favoring those that provide the highest economic and environmental value. Under this principle, a strong case can be made to prioritize wood, and products made from wood, that sequester carbon over bioenergy production and associated market distorting incentives for this practice.
CPA also indicated support for the stakeholder consultation system proposed by EPF that would evaluate potential impacts on existing wood fiber markets for energy project applicants intending to use biomass. A copy of CPA’s comments was provided to Natural Resources Canada to ensure awareness of international developments regarding the treatment of biomass residuals that could help inform Canada’s own bioenergy policies, including the upcoming Clean Fuel Regulations. See European Commission on Biomass and CPA RED Comments. More Info: Kevin Warkentin