Agricoltura e sviluppo rurale

Bioenergy and the CAP

Bioenergy and the CAP

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Bioenergy and the CAP

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) encourages, through its rural development measures, the supply of bioenergy from agriculture and forestry and the use of bioenergy on farms and in rural areas.

Direct payments to farmers have been fully decoupled from production and are granted to farmers — regardless of what they grow and for what purpose (food, feed, energy, material) — as far as they comply with the cross-compliance scheme.

In order to enable farmers to respond even better to changing market requirements, the latest revision of the CAP, called "Health Check", has abolished the energy crop premium and the set-aside scheme. Specific aids for growing (annual) energy crops thus no longer exist.

The rural development policy provides a variety of measures with which the Member States can support bioenergy production and consumption. The table below provides some details.


Types of operations that can be supported by the Member States  in their rural development programmes
to enhance renewable energy production

Types of operations

Articles and measures

Potential effects

Biogas production – anaerobic digestion plants using animal waste (on farm and local production)

Article 26: modernisation of agricultural holdings
Article 53: diversification into non-agricultural activities

Substitution of fossil fuel;
reduction of methane (CH4)

Perennial energy crops (short rotation coppice and herbaceous grasses)

Article 26: modernisation of agricultural holdings

Substitution of fossil fuels; carbon sequestration; reduction of nitrous oxide (N2O)

Processing of agricultural/forest biomass for renewable energy

Article 28: adding value to agricultural and forestry products

Substitution of fossil fuels

Installations/infrastructure for renewable energy using biomass

Article 53: diversification into non-agricultural activities
Article 54: support for business creation and development
Article 56: basic services for the economy and rural population

Substitution of fossil fuels

Source: COM(2008) 306 final: Annex II (pp. 149-150)


The "Health Check" has strengthened the support to rural development and in particular to those measures that are aimed to, among other priorities, the development of renewable energy and mitigation or adaptation to climate change. For the purpose, an increasing amount of money is transferred from the direct payments to the rural development budget.