The Commission adopted the Biomass action plan, designed to increase the use of energy from forestry, agriculture and waste materials. The Plan is meant to promote the use of biomass energy, seen as an energy source with huge potential. The plan announces more than 20 actions, most of them to be implemented from 2006 onwards.
For transport biofuels, they include promotion of "biofuels obligations", through which suppliers include a minimum proportion of biofuels in the conventional fuel they place on the market.
The plan includes reviews of how fuel standards could be improved to encourage the use of biomass for transport, heating and electricity generation; investment in research, in particular in making liquid fuels out of wood and waste materials; and a campaign to inform farmers and forest owners about energy crops.
The Commission will also work on future EU legislation to encourage the use of renewable energy in heating.
The Commission estimates that the measures in the plan will increase the use of biomass to about 150 Mtoe by 2010 (compared with 69 Mtoe in 2003) without increasing the intensity of agriculture or significantly affecting domestic food production. It forecasts that this will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 209 million tons CO2 equivalent per year; provide direct employment for 250-300 000 people; and reduce reliance on imported energy from 48% to 42%.
- Electricity end-uses