What?

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 according to Bioenergy Europe’s estimations, makes up to 58% of the total share of clean energy produced in Europe in 2020 –  with 121.920 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 (Bioenergy Europe’s predictions): in 2020, Europe relies on fossil and nuclear energy from January 1st to October 8th, for a total of 282 days. From then until the 12th November, Europe is fueled by renewables for a total of 35 days! Then, until the end of the year, bioenergy alone contributes with 49 days!

This means that from November 13th until December 31st, Europe could exclusively rely on bioenergy for all of its energy needs! The European Bioenergy Day, falling on 13th November this year, therefore marks a symbolic date that falls earlier and earlier each year, at both EU and national levels!

How?

Calculations are made thanks to the latest Eurostat data (2018) on the EU-27 gross final energy consumption and Bioenergy Europe’s estimations on the share of bioenergy and renewables (2020). Bioenergy Europe estimates that bioenergy will represent 13% in 2020, while other renewables will reach a 10% share. At the same time, non-renewables will still account for 77% of the EU-27 gross final energy consumption. The percentages obtained are then multiplied by 366, the number of days in 2020.

Definitions

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.