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Land use change induced by the increase in biofuel feedstocks demand is one of the main concerns of the impact of conventional biofuels. Land use change can be direct (DLUC), when crops for biofuel are grown on uncultivated land, or indirect (ILUC), when the use of agricultural land for biofuel pushes other agricultural production into natural ecosystems. ILUC cannot be measured directly. It is commonly determined making use of existing agro-economic models which look at the global land use change response to increased biofuel demand and make forward projections (e.g. to 2020).
In the current versions of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) and the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD), biofuels produced from residues and wastes are promoted by counting double toward the targets of the directives (e.g. 10% share of renewable energy in transport) and by assigning zero GHG emissions from upstream operations.
However, direct and indirect environmental and economic impacts of an increased use of wastes and residues for bioenergy implementation must be assessed, including also the analysis of their alternative uses.
The Joint Research Centre (JRC), the European Commission’s in-house science service, provides scientific evidence to policy makers on the complex issues of bioenergy and biofuels availability, exploitability and sustainability. The National Renewable Energy Action Plans (NREAPS) presented by the European Union Member States have shown how bioenergy will remain crucial over the next decade in order to reach the renewable energy targets in 2020.
Biomass is the organic fraction of both agricultural products, from forestry and related industries, and industrial and municipal waste. This includes for example wood, straw, energy crops, agricultural waste, agro-industrial waste, plants and animal waste.
Whilst technology development has been a key enabler in the progress of renewables, significant market penetration would have been impossible without appropriate support policies.
The 'Energy – Transparency Centre of Knowledge' (E-TRACK) is a joint initiative agreed between the Directorate General for Energy (DG ENER) and the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission for the promotion and enhancement of public participation in the implementation of energy policies. It results from the recognition of the need to offer a reliable source of public information on matters relating to energy policy implementation.