Landbrug og Udvikling af Landdistrikter

Agriculture and renewable energy

Agriculture and renewable energy

  1. Dansk
  2. English
Agriculture and renewable energy

The EU Energy Policy is one of the main priorities of the Commission. It aims at ensuring that the EU has secure, affordable and climate-friendly energy. Renewable energy provides an essential contribution to fighting climate change, improving energy security and creating new jobs and growth including in rural areas.

Online consultation:

"Preparation of a sustainable bioenergy policy for the period after 2020"

The Commission is currently consulting stakeholders and citizens on an updated EU policy on sustainable bioenergy for the period 2020-2030, as part of the EU renewable energy package foreseen before the end of 2016. The consultation is open till 10 May 2016.

>> Take part in the consultation <<



The Renewable Energy Directive (RED) 2009/28/EC defines binding targets for each Member State, such that the EU as a whole will reach a 20% share of renewable energy in the overall energy consumption by 2020.

The share of renewable energy to total energy consumption in the EU-28 has increased from 8.3% in 2004 to 15.0 % in 2013.  [Eurostat, figure 1]

In the EU, bio-energy represents about two-thirds of the renewable energy production [Eurostat, figure 2). Most of the bio-energy is produced from agricultural and forestry products.


Renewable energy and Common Agricultural Policy

The production and use of renewable energy is supported by the Union's Rural Development Policy (RDP).  Member States can integrate specific support measures for renewable energy in their national or regional Rural Development Programmes, for instance investments in renewable energy production or consumption. Energy efficiency measures can also be supported.

Table 1 provides an overview of the most relevant rural development measures that provide support to renewable energy in agriculture and forestry.

The Common Agricultural Policy does not provide direct support for the production of biomass for bioenergy.


Table 1: RDP Measures relevant to renewable energy 

RD Regulation [1]

Measure title

Art 14

Knowledge transfer and information actions

Art 15

Advisory services, farm management and farm relief services

Art 17

Investments in physical assets

Art 19

Farm and business development

Art 20

Basic services and village renewal in rural areas

Art 27

Setting up of producer groups and organisations

Art 35


Art 42-45



Measures related to forestry

Art 22

Afforestation and creation of woodland

Art 23

Establishment of agro-forestry systems

Art 24

Prevention and restoration of damage to forests from forest fires and natural disasters

Art 25

Investments improving the resilience, environmental value and climate contribution of forest ecosystems

Art 26

Investments in new forestry technologies and in processing and marketing of forest products

[1] Regulation (EU) No 1305/2013




Supporting measures for renewable energy

Investments in Physical Assets and Farm and Business Development

Investments in Physical Assets can be supported in order to improve the economic and environmental performance of the agricultural holding and rural enterprise. Farm and Business Development is a business start-up measure for non-agricultural activities essential for the development and the competitiveness in rural areas. Both measures can offer support possibilities for renewable energy production in a complementary way. 


Some examples of types of operations that may be supported:

  • Processing of agricultural biomass for renewable energy by actors other than agricultural holdings.
  • Energy supply, e.g. installations or energy infrastructure for distribution of renewable energy (to and from the holding) using biomass and other renewable energy sources (solar and wind power, geothermal energy).
  • Investments in the access to forest roads or wood storing places.
  • Starting new non-agricultural activities linked to renewable energy production.
  • Investments in the production of other types of renewable energy besides biomass, i.e. wind, solar, hydraulic, geothermal etc..



Basic services and village renewal in rural areas

Basic services and village renewal in rural areas stimulates growth and promotes environmental and socio-economic sustainability of rural areas.


Some examples of types of operations that may be supported:

  • Support to renewable energy infrastructure projects with possible derogation from the definition of 'small scale' infrastructure as to the size limit. 
  • Setting up of distribution networks for heat and/or electric power or gas from biomass or other renewable sources.
  • Construction of additional facilities to produce and use renewable energy in rural municipalities such as district heating networks to use the process heat as a by-product of bioenergy plants.


The setting up of producer groups and co-operation

These measures help actors in the agriculture and forestry sectors to work together, such as farmers, forest owners and business organisations.


Examples of a type of operation that may be supported:

  • Implementation of business plans that contribute to the efficient functioning of the supply chain for non-food purposes, e.g. the setting up of adequate organisation structures for biomass delivery (such as the utilisation of agricultural wastes and residues for renewable energy production or for bio-based products).


Forestry related measures

Some examples of types of operations that may be supported:

  • The use of residues from harvesting and maintenance for energy purposes.
  • The provision of biomass used for energy purposes by harvesting the wood before replanting the trees or from the collection of residues from thinnings or prunings.
  • Investments in order to mobilize wood including the production of biomass for energy generation, for example investments into new harvesting machinery for the collection of residues from thinnings or prunings.



Basic figures

Statistics on renewable energy can be obtained from the Eurostat website:



Where can I find more information?