In 2014, the contribution by renewable energy amounted to 16%, according to the 2016 Statistical Report on the Development of Bioenergy in the European Union, a paper drawn up every year by AEBIOM, the European Biomass Association. At that time, bioenergy accounted for 61% of all the renewable energy consumed, the equivalent of 10% of Europe’s gross final energy consumption. And the turnover generated by the biomass industry in the EU reached €55bn in 2014, up 32% on every10, according to EurObserv’ER.
The EU’s energy consumption in heating and cooling accounts from some 50% of the total, with 82% of that energy consumption covered by fossil fuels, 16% by biomass and the remaining 2% by other renewable energies. This is why bioenergy and renewables are becoming a key priority in policies specifically regarding the HVAC of the EU’s buildings. Bioenergy is currently the leading renewable energy for thermal use accounting for 88% of the uses for heating and cooling, or 16% of Europe’s gross final energy consumption.
One fact that is very important to highlight is that contrary to common belief, the woodlands of the EU-28 have been continuously growing over the last decades. In 1990, Europe’s woodland amounted to 19.7 billion m³ while in 2015, it stood at 26 billion m³, representing an increase of 34% over the last quarter of a century and coinciding with the years in which biomass has been used in a hi-tech format (pellets and wood chips) as source of renewable energy. According to Eurostat, in the EU-28, woodland has gained 322,800 hectares per year, the equivalent of a growth rate of one football pitch every minute.