The EEA has released a new report (#6/2013) “EU bioenergy potential from a resource-efficiency perspective“.
It makes for an interesting reading, as much of the hype found in earlier reports has quietly vanished and now makes place to more sober thinking.
The following figure shows the dramatic return to reality from the 2006 report and this one:
The report also shows quite clearly the problem of “carbon debt” when using forestry resources : when wood is burned, all the stored carbon is released in one CO2 pulse into the atmosphere, and this “debt” will be repaid only during the coming years when a mass equivalent to the burned one will have regrown. The authors concede that “… as a consequence, this report probably over-estimates the GHG mitigation from using forest biomass to generate energy“. This realism has to be applauded!
One of the most important aspects ILUC (indirect land use change) is now discussed quite heavily, and its importance made apparent. The authors also write ” Conversely, where biomass is derived from energy cropping, some bioenergy pathways lead to additional GHG emissions and other environmental impacts.”
Read this report, even if you are no great fan of bioenergy!