The use of biomass is an irresponsible option for energy supply. At one time it seemed like a good idea to shoot it by hooking it up, but the science has now ‘changed’, says Party for Animals MP Lammert van Raan. “Deforestation, particularly in the southeastern United States, is an ecological chain sustained by taxpayers. It’s essentially raised by citizens.’
According to von Raan, the German energy group Uniber, among others, is getting more than half a billion euros in subsidies for fuel that last until 2029, which he says is too severe. It is mainly about co-firing a coal-fired power plant with biofuel. ‘Uniper then not only steals from the future in terms of subsidies for biomass, but also taxpayers’ money, as we already knew in 2016 that such a coal-fired power plant is no longer viable in reality.’
Uniber aims to produce completely CO2-neutral electricity by 2040. And the company already applies very strict sustainability requirements and criteria for extracting fuels, says Dyonne Rietveld, managing director of Uniper Benelux. ‘We see biomass as an independent fuel that we don’t use much anymore. But as long as we want to better shape sustainability together, biology is part of it.
Also Read | Brussels is increasing sustainability targets
As an energy company, you don’t have the luxury of excluding bio unless you stand for security of supply and system reliability, says Rietveld. ‘You can’t say anything: we won’t use it anymore unless there are enough alternatives for the amount of electricity we need in the Netherlands, so we don’t have to use it anymore.’
Transparency Biomass Chain
Van Raan has serious doubts about the transparency of the biomass chain. He therefore challenges Rietveld to carefully examine the chain again with independent parties. ‘We point to one, you point to one, and then we put those certificates under a magnifying glass in great detail.’ Because really, everyone who doesn’t have a direct interest in burning biomass doubts the purity of that chain. “I wonder what she would say to that.”
Also Read | More pressure on business will not bring climate goals closer
Rietveld has made little progress on the matter, other than to promise further discussions with von Raan, based on the many reports available. ‘I want to understand from you where the doubt lies, and then we will discuss together what we can do. Univer has nothing to hide.
“Coffee fanatic. Friendly zombie aficionado. Devoted pop culture practitioner. Evil travel advocate. Typical organizer.”