Increasing bio-energy use offers significant opportunities for Europe to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and to improve the security of its energy supply. However, a substantial rise in biomass use from agriculture and related sectors to produce transport fuels and energy can put significant environmental pressures on farmlands, biodiversity and on soil and water resources. Consequently, it may counteract current and future environmental policies and objectives designed to improve the quality of ground and surface waters or biodiversity protection.
These issues are addressed in the EEA Report No 7/2006 on ’How much bioenergy can Europe produce without harming the environment?’.
This report provides technical details on scenario assumptions and models for deriving the agricultural bioenergy potential. It supplements the technical explanations of modeling assumptions and calculations with three different pieces:
- Background information on environmental pressures from agriculture that explain the environmental assumptions made;
- Examples and information on environmentally compatible modelling approaches; and
- A discussion of policy measures that are important for achieving the environmentally compatible future on which the modeling assumptions are built.
The scenario analysis presented pinpoints the environmental aspects that should be looked at when increasing bioenergy production on farmlands. The model also gives an indication of how much agricultural biomass is potentially available without harming the environment and without counteracting current and potential future EU environmental policies and objectives.
The full report can be viewed here: