Backgrounds and Effects of EU Bioenergy Policies (AGRINERGY)
AGRINERGY (EU Bioenergy Policies and their effects on rural areas and agriculture policies) is a Specific Support Action (SSA) within the Sixth EU Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP6). The project aims to analyse and understand the socio-economic, environmental and societal issues of EU bioenergy policies and their effects on future Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), and how they fit into the concept of sustainable rural development.
At the Spring meeting of the European Council in Brussels on 8-9 March 2007, the EU heads of state endorsed binding targets to have 20% of the EU's overall energy consumption come from renewable energies by 2020 and to establish, subjected to some conditions, a minimum target of 10% of the petrol and diesel market to be represented by biofuels by 2020.
Compared to other renewables, bioenergy can be applied more flexible, because only biomass is equally suitable for the generation of electricity and heat as well as for the production of fuels. Currently, bioenergy is the main renewable energy source, contributing to about two thirds of renewable energy production in the EU.
Agriculture and forestry can, therefore, make a key contribution to an increasing share of renewables in Europe. However, that implies the co-ordination of different policies regarding agriculture, environment and rural development. Achieving maximum energy gains and additional income for rural areas and minimising the potential threat of biomass production (e.g. additional pressures on biodiversity, soil and water resources) requires careful planning at every administrative level.
AGRINERY provides a new perspective on bioenergy by linking all relevant policy fields to a comprehensive understanding of sustainable use of bioenergy.
The main objectives are to:
- summarise and explain the link between the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the development of rural areas, environmental protection, international trade issues (WTO), sustainability standards and EU bioenergy policies;
- bring together policymakers, stakeholders and experts in the field of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), bioenergy, environment and international trade in order to develop a common language and understanding; and
- develop cornerstones for future policy-making by fostering the growth of large volumes of biomass in agriculture and ensuring environmentally friendly and socially acceptable development of rural areas at the same time.
Ecologic is the co-ordinator of the AGRINERGY and contributes to all studies and papers that are compiled during the project including:
- a general review on bioenergy in the European Union;
- background notes for a conference on environmental effects of biomass production, its effects on future rural development and the relation of bioenergy policies to the future CAP and WTO negotiations; and
- policy briefs on strategies how to mitigate negative environmental effects from biofuel production, how to increase knowledge and information transfer into rural areas and how to merge sustainable bioenergy use in trade and agriculture policies.
Additionally, Ecologic is responsible for the organisation of two events that are part of the project. An expert seminar will be held in November 2007 in order develop a common language between the various actors that are affected by bioenergy policies and to come up with first outcomes that can be broadly agreed on. A subsequent conference in May 2008 for authorities in charge of different policy fields relevant for bioenergy as well as representatives of international conventions, NGOs and scientists will mainly outline and explain interactions between the agriculture, the energy and the environment sector.
Further information about the project and downloads of the project’s outputs can be found on the AGRINERGY website.