The Netherlands may be unable to meet climate change targets without using biomass, the Dutch environmental assessment agency PBL says in a new report.
Criticism of the use of biomass in power stations has been growing in recent months, particularly the import of wood chips, with opponents arguing that it is far from sustainable and can be more polluting than traditional methods of generating electricity.
However, without using biomass, the Netherlands will have to install wind turbines and solar panels more quickly that it is currently doing, and other difficult choices will have to be made, the PBL said.
The PBL report, based on a study of 400 reports as well as 150 interviews, will be used by the cabinet as part of wider research into the use of biomass to establish sustainability criteria which can count on ‘wide support among the general population’.
In focusing on biomass, ‘biodiversity loss is a real risk,’ the report said. ‘At the same time, biomass appears to play a significant role in a climate-neutral, circular economy.‘ Air quality and health effects must also be included in the strategy, as well as legal guarantees on imports, the PBL said.
To meet EU targets, some 14% of energy generated in the Netherlands should come from sustainable sources by the end of this year. But according to the PBL, Dutch sustainable energy production will be no more than 11.4% of the total.
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