How much biomass can Europe use without harming the environment?
Extending biomass use to produce energy (bioenergy) will both help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet the European renewable energy targets. However, biomass production may create additional environmental pressures, such as on biodiversity, soil and water resources. The European Environment Agency is currently assessing how much biomass can be used for energy generation without causing such additional pressures. Preliminary results suggest that there is sufficient biomass potential in the EU-25 to support ambitious renewable energy targets in an environmentally responsible way. Achieving maximum gains and minimising the potential threat of bioenergy production requires careful planning from EU to local level. Socio-economic aspects or an assessment of the policies and measures needed to mobilise this potential are not specifically addressed here and would need further consideration, alongside logistical and cost issues.