The EU is not only a major energy consumer, but also a major energy importer. On November 13, 2012, “European Bioenergy Outlook 2012” carried out a statistical analysis of European energy development. The report pointed out that the EU’s energy production is 8.3 billion tons of oil equivalent, the net energy import is 953 million tons of oil equivalent, and the total energy consumption is 1.759 billion tons of oil equivalent. The EU’s energy production can only meet 48% of its energy needs. For many years, the EU’s external dependence on energy has remained high. In 2010, the EU’s external dependence on coal, oil and natural gas was as high as 59%, 62% and 84% respectively. Therefore, vigorously developing renewable energy, including bioenergy, is crucial to ensuring EU energy security.
From the perspective of the development of renewable energy, the total renewable energy consumption in the EU in 2010 reached 152 million tons of oil equivalent, accounting for 10% of the total energy consumption and 124% of the total final energy consumption. Among them, the total biomass energy consumption reached 11.8 billion tons of oil equivalent, accounting for about 77.6% of the total renewable energy consumption and 8% of the total energy consumption in the EU. In the power sector, biomass power generation accounts for 16.85% of Europe’s renewable energy generation, and 63.59% of Europe’s cogeneration is provided by biomass. In the heating industry, biomass heating accounts for 93% of renewable energy heating and meets 12.9% of Europe’s overall heating energy needs. In the transportation industry, the biofuel consumed by the European transportation industry in 2010 reached 13.2 million tons of oil equivalent, accounting for about 3.63% of the total fuel consumption in the transportation industry.
In order to ensure energy independence, the EU proposes to develop “alternative energy sources” while improving energy efficiency to ensure the EU’s energy security.
In the process of promoting the industrialization of renewable energy, EU countries usually take the approach of government investment in science and technology first, followed by market development, so as to promote the industrialization process. At the same time, the EU has successively implemented a series of energy policies. In 1995, the European Union published the Green Paper on Energy Policy; based on this, in 1997, Europe determined the EU’s action plan to increase the proportion of renewable energy in the energy structure, and proposed that the proportion of renewable energy in primary energy consumption would increase from 6% in 1996 to 12% in 2010, and the share of renewable energy power capacity in total power capacity will also increase from 14% in 1997 to 22% in 2010. According to the “Renewable Energy White Paper” formulated by the European Union in 1997, the proportion of renewable energy in the EU’s total energy reached 12% in 2010, doubling from 6% in 1998. In 2006, the “EU Energy Policy Action Plan for the Next Three Years” (2007-2009) was discussed, and it was proposed to improve energy efficiency in order to achieve the EU’s goal of reducing energy consumption by 20% by 2020. This requires each member state to clarify the “responsibility goals” of energy conservation, and to determine the main energy conservation areas in accordance with the characteristics of each country’s economy and energy policies so as to quickly implement measures. In 2007, the EU established the “Energy and Transport Development Strategy” to improve energy efficiency in the field of transportation, support research on alternative energy and renewable energy, and encourage extensive research on energy conservation and emission reduction; in December 2008, the EU energy and climate package was promulgated, requiring that greenhouse gas emissions be reduced by at least 20% on the basis of 1990 by 2020, and the proportion of renewable clean energy in total energy consumption should be increased to 20% and the consumption of petrochemical energy such as coal, oil and natural gas should be reduced by 20%.
In the promotion of low-carbon economy, EU member states have been playing an active role, scrambling to develop a low-carbon economy. Each member state has successively formulated phased goals for the development of renewable energy, and Germany and the United Kingdom have launched a fierce competition. Germany and the UK have pledged to reach 10% and 20% of their electricity generation from renewable sources by 2010 and 2020, respectively.
The renewable energy industry in Germany started early and developed rapidly. As early as April 2000, Germany began to implement the “Renewable Energy Law”, which stipulates that by 2020, the power generation of wind, biomass, hydro and solar energy will be increased by 10%, making it account for 20% of Germany’s total power generation. . Since then, relevant laws have been promulgated to promote the development of renewable energy such as biofuels and geothermal energy, which has greatly promoted the research and application of renewable energy. In January 2010, Norbert Rotgen, then the German Minister of the Environment, publicly announced: “By 2050, almost all of Germany’s energy consumption can be derived from renewable energy.” In terms of biodiesel, German biodiesel production in 2006 accounted for 5.24% of the EU’s total biodiesel output. Since 2000, EU biodiesel production has grown rapidly at an annual rate of 28.2%. According to the statistics of the German Federal Association of Energy and Water Resources, at the end of 2009, Germany’s renewable energy generation accounted for 16% of Germany’s electricity consumption; in 2012, 23.6% of electricity consumption in Germany came from renewable energy, about 31% of electricity from renewable energy came from biomass electricity, and more than 2/3 of biomass electricity came from biogas. In 2013, about 7,750 biogas power plants in Germany were built, with an installed capacity of about 3,450 MW.
In 2003, he published a white paper titled “The UK Government’s Future Energy – Creating a Low-Carbon Economy”, announcing that the UK will transform into a low-carbon economy country by 2050, and the UK will play a leading role in the stability, sustainability and environmental protection of European and even global energy technology and energy markets. On July 15, 2009, the United Kingdom announced the detailed national strategic plan of “Low-Carbon Transition in the United Kingdom”, which is the action roadmap for the United Kingdom to 2020, which requires all aspects to develop in the direction of low-carbonization. In terms of energy, renewable energy should account for 15% of the energy supply by 2020, of which 40% of electricity will come from low-carbon sectors. In November 2009, the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change released a draft energy plan, which clearly stated that nuclear energy, renewable energy and clean coal are three important components of the UK’s future energy.
Renewable energy represented by biomass energy has low environmental pollution and can be used sustainably. The development of renewable energy is the goal of the EU Energy Policy Center. As technology develops, renewable energy is no less economically competitive than conventional energy in the medium to long term. Renewable energy can reduce CO2 emissions, increase the sustainability of energy supply, improve the security of energy supply, and reduce the EC’s growing dependence on imported energy.