15 April 2005

EU And Italy Lagging Behind When It Comes To Biomass

Rome, April 4 – Europe is seriously lagging behind when it comes to the development of biomasses. That is the conclusion of a report entitled “Biomasses for energy and the environment”, prepared by renewable energy association Itabia on behalf of the environment ministry.

“Compared with the rest of Europe the development of biomasses penetration on the energy market in Italy is lagging behind compared with the targets set for 2010-2012. A recent Aebiom analysis unveiled that in 5-6 years’ time Europe has reached an average of 20 pct of the targets that were supposed to be met. Italia should double its bioenergy potential by 2012 but at the current pace it will only increase it by a third. From a hypothetical level of 100 in 1997 Italy biofuel capacity should reach 300 in 2006 and then 400 by 2010.

But in actual fact Italy just gained a few percentage points compared with the starting level, so tripling its performance looks like a dream. The reasons can partly be found in the energy sector, which is not ready yet. Italy’s current biomasses consumption figure of 5,3 Mtep is a false figure. Most of this consumption refers to wood burning in fireplaces, ovens and small private installations with a very low efficiency level.

The use of efficient installations is lagging behind in Italy and it needs to catch up fast. The power produced by Italy biomasses power plants amounts to 312 MW; the White book mentions a target of 800 MW for 2006 and 2.300 in 2008-2012. Biogas production is also very low: 128 MW and a production of electric energy totalling 566 GWh per annum. “The theoretical gross production of all of Italy waste sites – Itabia experts say – could reach 1.000 MW. But only a fraction is these Mws, around 30 pct, can be used for energy purposes. But as most of this potential is concentrated in medium and large waste sites a target of 200-300 MW in 2008-2012 is more realistic”.

“A lot of work needs to be done to reach the renewable energy targets – said Corrado Clini, director general of the environment ministry – and this report will raise more awareness about the sector. We are sure that with correct and organised planning biomasses have a future in Italy and certain targets can be reached”. Italy should also keep an eye on the Kyoto Protocal. “In our country – said Sanzio Baldini, Itabia’s president – the energy potential of bio energy sources that can be used to replace fossil energy can reach 10 Mtep a year leading to a decrease of 30 million tons of CO2“. A very important figure if we take into account that according to the Kyoto Treaty Italy should reduce emissions by 93 million tons of CO2eq a year. Biomasses could contribute to a third of that.

Source: Agenzia Giornalistica Italia (AGI) online Apr 04, 2005.

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