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Regional bioenergy markets are leading the sustainable transition!

On the European Bioenergy Future conference organised by Bioenergy Europe, the FEDARENE session put energy agencies’ major role under the spotlights.

Regional bioenergy markets are leading the sustainable transition!

In cooperation with Bioenergy Europe, FEDARENE presented a session on regional bioenergy markets and their development, and on the role of energy agencies in leading the development of bioenergy as part as the renewable energy transition.

This session, organized as part of the Energy Efficiency Watch LIFE Project, welcomed several speakers from three different regions to showcase their local initiatives focusing on the uptake of the bioenergy market within the broader Green Deal roll-out:

  • Ricardo González, Head of the external relations department of the Castilla y León Energy Agency
  • Etienne Vienot, Head of European and International affairs of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Energy agency
  • Matteo Mazzolini, Director of the Friuli Venezia Giulia Energy Agency, in the frame of the Connect’Heat project, supporting the development of community energy initiatives, aiming at decarbonising the heating and cooling systems.
  • Moderated by Mélissa Miklos

The session highlighted the role of energy agencies in supporting the thermal and wood biomass projects in their regions and the difficulties to be overcome in each of the different territories. Overall these three energy agencies are technically supporting the implementation of the ambitious regional objectives of biomass production.

Friuli Venezia Giulia region leader on thermal renewable energy communities

In the Friuli Venezia Giulia region, a thermal renewable energy community is being developed thanks to a centralised waste heat system, gathering heat consumers, local biomass suppliers, plant and DH operator and forest and land owners. At first, 3 buildings were supplied with backup wood pellets boilers, then 6 more buildings were heated with wood chip boilers. Eventually, an hospital has been supplied with additional wood chip boilers. Currently, the APE FVG agency also support the development of additional local investments projects with a couple of feasibility studies ongoing for new district heating installations and extension of existing ones.

Castilla y Leon region powered by biomass

In the Castilla y Leon region, thermal biomass is completed by biomass electricity. Since 2022, the development of thermal biomass is incentivised among households thanks to an aid programme for biomass heating to support households in installing new biomass boilers. This is completed by an additional aid programme for biomass installations in industries. Apart from the biomass heating systems, the region is operating the three main heating networks and the six biomass logistic centres. Regarding biomass electricity, the Castilla y Leon region is currently supplied by three biomass power plants.

Wood biomass energy development in Auvergne Rhône-Alpes region

In the Auvergne Rhône-Alpes region, 25% of the renewable energy production comes from wood biomass, which represents 10% of the region’s overall energy production. Wood biomass is mainly resulting from wood logs use, then chipped wood, and pellets. Apart from wood biomass, the region also develops biogas units, including biomethane. And the regional wood-energy plan foresees a 43% increase in wood energy production by 2030, compared to 2015, with an objective of 6000 additional GWh produced by 2035​. This regional biomass development strategy is accompanied and monitored by a regional strategic wood energy committee, bringing together a hundred stakeholders, including producers, operators, local authorities and financial backers. On biogas development, the agency is playing a role a resource and observation centre, as technical expert for institutions and projects leaders, and as promoter of the sector and institutional technical partners.

Through these ambitious regional biomass development strategies, speakers highlighted the upcoming challenges to be overcome for a successful evolution of this energy source. The social acceptance of the biogas and biomass is one of the main ones. This can be addressed by being vigilant about the prioritization of uses of resources, the provision of agronomic guarantees on the quality of the digestate, the improvement of the professionalisation of the sector, and the implementation of a circular economy service to communities.