Last year we reported on the draft of the third version of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED III). The focus was on strengthening renewable energies on the one hand, and far-reaching restrictions on the production of energy from wood on the other.

After almost two years, the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Council have now agreed on a comprehensive redesign of the directive in the so-called trilogue negotiations on the revision of the EU directive at the end of March. The agreement reached provides for a binding increase in the share of renewable energies to 42.5 % by 2030, with the desired target of voluntarily reaching 45 %. Binding targets for the respective sectors are to apply.

One of the key points is that energy from wood will continue to be considered as renewable energy. However, the introduction of retrospective greenhouse gas criteria for existing biomass plants causes concern in the area of biogas production.

Specifically, the changes mean that wood combustion can still be counted as renewable energy production, but with some exceptions. For sawlogs, veneer logs and industrial roundwood, as well as stumps and roots, a ban on financial support now applies in the case of combustion for energy production. Wood from “old forests” – the exact definition of “old ” being determined by the EU member states – will in future have to meet special requirements for harvesting. Old-growth forests, forests with very high biodiversity, highly biodiverse grasslands, wetlands and peatlands are to be protected from excessive timber harvesting. Wood biomass may only be used in installations for the production of biofuels, bioliquids and biomass fuels if a declaration of assurance is issued stating that it does not originate from no-go areas. Furthermore, wood biomass may only be used in accordance with its highest economic and ecological added value (cascade use).

For the most part, the new regulations are mostly a relief for the affected industries, but for others, the redesign may not go far enough. It remains exciting. At any rate, the Brüning Group will continue to carefully examine all new developments and changes. Of course, we will continue to maintain an active exchange with business partners, associations and politicians. It is important for us as a company to keep up to date with the latest information and to implement the requirements of RED III in practice. In this way, we ensure that we offer our customers and suppliers the corresponding compliance with the directive and remain a reliable partner for them.