Bioenergy – what significance does it have for the energy transition?
In December 2015, the world community in Paris decided to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. This has given a clear signal for the rapid decarbonisation of the energy sector, which can only succeed with a rapid and complete switch to renewable energies.
What role does bioenergy play in this? Bioenergy is by far the most widely used renewable energy source worldwide as well as in Germany. While on a global scale traditional and often harmful bioenergy applications dominate such as open hearth fires, biomass applications in Germany are increasingly shaped by modern technologies such as biogas production, biofuels and technically demanding wood heating systems. In Germany, bioenergy supplied a total of 219 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity, heat and fuel in 2015, making up 58 percent of the total energy supply from renewable energies (RE).
However, the growth of bioenergy in Germany has slowed noticeably recently and is declining significantly in some areas, such as biofuels. The reasons for this are legal revisions in the accounting of biofuels and, in the electricity sector, the amendments to the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) in 2012 and 2014, which have caused major cuts in the promotion of biogas.