What is the European Bioenergy Day ?

Most Europeans today lack a clear and simple way to understand where the EU stands in the development of renewables. This is particularly true when considering the case of bioenergy. Who knew that biomass is on the way to become the first European energy source, surpassing coal? Who knew that bioenergy is Europe’s first source of renewable energy, making up 61% of the total share of clean energy produced in Europe with 107.212 kilotonnes of oil equivalent (ktoe)?

While this is great news, it is still difficult to visualise what this means in the bigger picture of renewables. To better understand, let’s take the calendar year and break it down according to European energy consumption statistics: In 2017, Europe will rely on fossil and nuclear energy from January 1st to October 26th, representing 299 days in total. It is from October 27th onwards that Europe is fueled by renewables, meaning 66 days in total! Bioenergy alone contributes 41 days of this total, which means that from November 21st until December 31st, Europe can theoretically rely on bioenergy to be fueled.

The European Bioenergy Day marks the symbolic date from which the EU-28 can solely rely on bioenergy to be fueled. The positive news is that this date has improved every year for the past decade, at both EU and national levels!

How is the European Bioenergy Day calculated ? 

The European Bioenergy Day is calculated based on the latest Eurostat data (2016) on the EU-28 gross final energy consumption and AEBIOM’s estimations regarding the bioenergy/renewable energy share in 2017.  As featured in the following graph, AEBIOM estimates that bioenergy will represent 11% in 2017, while other renewables will reach a 7% share. At the same time, fossil fuel sources will still account for 82% of the EU-28 gross final energy consumption.

The percentages obtained are multiplied by 365, the number of days in 2017, giving the date of the European Bioenergy Day.

The definitions of “Bioenergy”, “Other RES” and “Non-RES” used to established the European Bioenergy Day follow Eurostat methodology. In line with this, “Non-RES” encompasses all fossil fuels (natural gas, crude oil and other hydrocarbons, solid fossil fuels), nuclear and non-renewable wastes. “Other RES” 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.