German ministries plan curbs on biomass in draft national strategy
The German government plans to tighten restrictions on the use of biomass, according to a draft national strategy for the renewable power technology seen by energy and climate newsletter Tagesspiegel Background. The Green Party-led ministries for the economy, the environment and for agriculture jointly drafted the paper that proposes severe restrictions on burning high-quality biomass, strict sustainability criteria, and the cancellation of state support for many applications. At the same time, they want to boost the use of residual and waste materials to generate energy. The newsletter calls the paper “regulatory dynamite” for industries that base their business model on biomass and have been awaiting the strategy eagerly for months.
The draft strategy states that the availability of wood from forests will decline from about 75 million cubic metres in 2020 to 58-72 million by 2050, without taking into account losses due to climate change. Importing more wood from abroad is "not a sustainable solution" because it risks creating new dependencies and a shift of German greenhouse gas emissions to foreign balance sheets. Food production, as well as climate and environmental protection, do not allow the growth of cultivated biomass in agriculture, according to the draft. At the same time, demand for biomass could increase in sectors where it should not be used, for example in road transport and heating, the ministries warn.