It is my great pleasure to extend to you a warm welcome to the Asian Bioenergy Conference and International Bioenergy (Shanghai) Exhibition.
As you are aware, in Europe we are committed to moving more and more towards a low carbon society. Energy and transport systems play a very significant part in our daily lives. Developing low carbon systems provide the foundations for building a low carbon society. In addition, these are making major contributions towards achieving agreed European Union 2020 targets. Even more ambitious targets have been agreed for 2030 and some individual EU Member States plan to be completely fossil-free by 2050. In striving to achieve the fossil-free society, where the rise of CO2 levels in the atmosphere emissions can finally be stopped, the whole spectrum of renewable energy technologies needs to be considered. Both the timing and the thematic of our conference are thus very relevant. Bioenergy will play a very significant role in the low carbon society and in a growing bioeconomy.
While biomass has been used as a fuel and a source of energy for thousands of years our advanced industrialised societies demand a reliable supply of renewable, clean and affordable energy. The EU renewables directive of 2009 represented a key point in the reduced use of fossil fuels in Europe’s energy system by pulling together a number of strands of earlier legislation to form a firm base for contribution of renewables towards our goals. In particular, substantial growth in wind and solar energy has been achieved. Bioenergy is moving from “first generation” technologies to advanced technologies. This move is strongly supported by the European Union through major projects in technology demonstration. There are nevertheless many challenges, not least reducing technology cost, in order to achieve parity with existing commercial energy generation technologies.
This conference, as with the European Biomass Conference and Exhibition (EUBCE), is designed to address the key challenges of promoting innovation, supporting technology development and looking to learn and improve from our successes. During the event we will hear about progress on research development and deployment. We will hear and discuss about exciting new innovations, new technologies that might provide a quantum leap forward and technologies that are nearing commercial exploitation. Let’s not forget the all-important biomass resource and how best to use the available biomass in the most resource efficient way and without causing unwanted and unplanned negative impacts. The balance between biomass utilisation for bioenergy and the bioeconomy and conservation is at the heart of a sustainable society. This balance is a key focus of EU legislation and the research work of my own Institute for Energy and Transport at Directorate General JRC. Ultimately, all research informs all communities and not least our policy makers who design the legislation to support moving towards the low carbon society.
I wish you a successful and enjoyable conference and trust that together we can move forward to achieve our common goals. The Asian Bioenergy Conference and International Bioenergy (Shanghai) Exhibition gives us an excellent opportunity to form new collaborations for the benefit of all. Let’s take this opportunity!