Existing studies have calculated the domestically available potential for biomass for energy to be between 169 and 737 Mtoe each year in Europe from 2050 onwards (Cf. figure 1). A literature review concludes that the middle range potential of 406 Mtoe, which is around 24% of the total energy consumption in EU-28 in 2017, can be achieved by 2050 – considering different constraints (e.g. costs). This means that, compared to the actual 144 Mtoe used in 2017, the potential gives enough room to almost triple the amount of bioenergy in the EU-28 energy mix.
Figure 1 Gross inland energy consumption of biomass in 2017 and potential in 2050 for the EU28 (in Mtoe)
Source: Bioenergy Europe, Faaij (2018), Securing sustainable resource availability of biomass for energy applications in Europe; review of recent literature.
Figure 2 Land Use by type in EU28 2015 (%)
Note: Other use gathers services &residential areas, the industry related areas and fishing areas. Unused and abandoned areas are defined in Annexes. Source: Eurostat
Unused and abandoned areas represent 15,8% of the total land use in the EU28 which is a significant amount of land that could potentially be used to grow energy crops. Croatia, Greece, Spain or the United Kingdom present high percentages of unused and abandoned areas (>25%). Additionally, Cyprus and Malta also have high shares of unused and abandoned areas, but the absolute figure is rather small. In absolute terms, the countries showing the biggest unused and abandoned area are Spain, Sweden, Italy, France and the United Kingdom. Regarding the forest area proportions within the total area, Finland, Sweden and Slovenia are the top three countries while, in absolute terms, the top 3 with the largest forest area are Sweden, Finland and France.
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