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Agriculture and bioenergy

The EU is committed to combat climate change and to increase security of its energy supply. Bioenergy from forestry and agriculture plays a key role for both. The Common Agricultural Policy helps agriculture and forestry to provide biomass for energy and encourages the use of bioenergy in rural areas.

Basic facts

  • Bioenergy is one form of renewable energy among many from other sources (wind, solar, hydraulic, geothermal etc).
  • Bioenergy, if produced sustainably, saves greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Bioenergy accounts for more than two thirds of total renewable energy in the EU.
  • Biomass for energy is mainly provided by forestry (which provides half of the EU's renewable energy), agriculture and organic waste. The share of agriculture – although still modest – is growing fast.
  • Feedstocks for bioenergy are storable; bioenergy can thus be produced constantly and is a reliable source of energy.
  • Biomass is amply available in most parts of Europe.
  • Biomass can be either in solid, liquid or gaseous form and can be used to produce electricity, direct heating, or transport fuels.



Production of renewable energy from EU agriculture and forestry
(in 1000 tonnes oil equivalent and as share of total production of renewable energy, 2007-2012)

Production of renewable energy from EU agriculture, 2007-2012

Production of renewable energy from EU forestry, 2007-2012

(Sources: Forestry – Eurostat, Agriculture – EC DG Agriculture and Rural Development,
based on ePure, EBB, EurObserv'ER)


EU energy policy

The two main objectives of EU energy policy are increasing security of energy supply and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Central piece of legislation is the Renewable Energy Directive 2009/28/EC български (bg)czech (cs)dansk (da)Deutsch (de)eesti (et)ελληνικά (el)español (es)Français (fr)Gaeilge (ga)hrvatski (bg)italiano (it)latviešu (lv)lietuvių (lt)magyar (hu)Malti (mt)Nederlands (nl)polski (pl)português (pt)română (ro)slovenčina (sk)slovenščina (sl)suomi (fi)svenska (sv). It sets ambitious binding targets for all Member States such that the EU will reach a 20% share of renewable energy by 2020. For the transport sector, it sets a specific minimum 10% target for each Member States. The Directive also establishes a comprehensive sustainability scheme for biofuels.

The Directive requires Member States to plan their development of each types of renewable energy, including bioenergy, by elaborating National Renewable Energy Action Plans. Moreover, provisions for cooperation between Member States help them to achieve their targets more cost-effectively.

Member States shall transpose the Directive in their national legislation by December 2010.