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2014 January 22

WBA Press Release - Report on the Central European Biomass Conference

WBA Press Release from the CEBC, Graz

World Bioenergy Association: Bioenergy – the pillar of the European “Energiewende” – is now a booming industry worldwide.

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With more than 1100 registered participants coming from 46 countries and five continents the Central European Bioenegy Conference in Graz, from the15th to the 18th of January 2014, was one of the biggest bioenergy gatherings ever. Many companies came to Graz to explore new business opportunities. The WBA contributed to the meeting with a workshop on small-scale biomass technologies and markets worldwide.
More than 120 presentations offered an overview about the fascinating developments and potentials of bioenergy worldwide and the industry’s interactions with the climate policy. A few key conclusions can be drawn as follows:

- The potential of biomass for an increased contribution to the energy supply is huge. This is especially valid for Eastern Europe but also for Japan, Australia, Latin America and Africa. Yet in many regions there is a lack of know-how, training, capital and supportive policies.

- Biomass for energy from agricultural residues and new energy crops such as fast growing trees or grasses is becoming more important, yet some technological challenges have still to be solved.

- In some regions biogas is gaining more and more attention as a way to deliver energy from putrescible waste streams, in combination with residuals and energy crops.

- Some forms of biomass are already global commodities, such as transport biofuels and pellets. The pellets sector is becoming the most dynamically- growing biomass supply chain, with growth rates above 20% annually in the first decade and an expected growth rate of above 10% annually in the 2nd decade of this century.

- In most countries producing heat from biomass is cheaper than by use of fossil fuels. The competitiveness of biomass in this market would become even stronger if carbon taxes on fossil fuels were introduced generally.

- The discussion about the findings of the new IPCC report on climate change made clear that the required fast reduction of CO2 emissions from fossil fuels is possible if the bioenergy sector is pushed ahead accordingly.

The president of WBA, Heinz KOPETZ concludes: “The CEBC has demonstrated that the bioenery sector can contribute significantly to mitigate global warming. Ambitious targets for Europe, such as at least 45% Renewable Energy and a reduction of more than 40% of CO2 emissions by 2030 are needed, to give investors clear signals where to go.”