It’s not always easy to understand where the EU stands in terms of renewables. This is particularly true when considering the case of bioenergy: who knew that biomass is the first European energy source generated on the continent, surpassing coal, or that it makes up to 61% of the total share of clean energy produced in Europe – with 126.492 kilotonnes of oil equivalent (ktoe)?
Sounds like great news, but can you visualize it? Let’s take the calendar year and break it down according to statistics on European energy consumption: in 2019, Europe relies on fossil and nuclear energy from January 1st to September 4th, for a total of 246 days. From then until the 16th November, Europe is fueled by renewable for a total of 74 days! Then, until the end of the year, bioenergy alone contributes with 45 days!
This means that from November 16th until December 31st, Europe could exclusively rely on bioenergy for all of its energy needs! The European Bioenergy Day, falling on 17th November this year, therefore marks a symbolic date that falls earlier and earlier each year, at both EU and national levels!
Calculations are made thanks to the latest Eurostat data (2018) on the EU-28 gross final energy consumption and Bioenergy Europe’s estimations on the share of bioenergy and renewables (2019). Bioenergy Europe estimates that bioenergy will represent 12% in 2018, while other renewables will reach a 8% share. At the same time, fossil fuel sources will still account for 80% of the EU-28 gross final energy consumption. The percentages obtained are then multiplied by 365, the number of days in 2019, providing symbolic periods during which one or the other source of energy is used.
The definitions of “bioenergy”, “other renewable energy” and “non-renewable energy” are used in accordance with Eurostat’s methodology. The term “non-renewable energy” encompasses all fossil fuels (natural gas, crude oil and other hydrocarbons, solid fossil fuels), nuclear and non-renewable wastes. “Other renewable energy” refers to hydropower, geothermal, wind, solar and ocean energy, while “bioenergy” comprises all solid biomass, biogas, biodiesel, bioethanol, other liquid biofuels and renewable waste (municipal wastes), using multiple counting on biofuel as defined in Directive 2009/28/CE.