Press release by Biomass Suisse, translated by Simone Nanzer

Local, renewable and climate-neutral
The 4th Bioenergy Forum on the 22nd June 2016 in Solothurn highlighted the regional, renewable and climate-neutral potential of bioenergy in Switzerland. However, bureaucratic hurdles and missing incentives prevent the full exploiting of bioenergy’s potential. The 100 experts at the Bioenergy Forum all agreed on that. The bioenergy projects presented at the 4th Bioenergy Forum made it clear: Industry innovatively pushes the use of renewable energies forward. Experts from the different energy utilities such as electricity, gas and oil agreed: without energy from biomass neither the energy strategy 2050 nor a sustainable mobility can be implemented. The biomass potential, especially for waste management and agriculture, is far from being exploited. Approximately 20,000 households are supplied with electricity and 5,000 with heat with the current energy production from wet biomass. Four times the amount would be easily reachable. The share of biogenic fuels rises constantly and is at a good 1.2 % right now. At least a fivefold of that percentage is possible.

Innovative industry
Bureaucratic hurdles and missing incentives have been seen as brake pads. It is not lacking innovation. See the hybrid plant Aarmatt which is successfully pursuing a power-to-gas pathway. Or the newly launched virtual power plant of Fleco Power, which bundles renewable energy sources and feeds the electricity flexibly into the grid. Other products have already been placed on the market successfully. The brand “Biogas” is successful in the heat market; biodiesel, bioethanol and biomethane are being established in the fuel market.

Removing obstacles
National council member Beat Jans showed that bioenergy has a stony way ahead of it on the political level – although the new renewable energy sources shall be highly supported according to the energy strategy 2050. Patrick Hofstetter, head of climate and energy WWF Switzerland is convinced: “The climate treaty of Paris cannot be fulfilled without bioenergy. The greenhouse gas balance of all countries shall be reduced to zero by 2050 – that can only be accomplished with renewable energy.” The association Biomass Suisse sees the challenges not only in the political surrounding, according to managing director Hans-Christian Angele. Many plant operators’ hands are tied because they encounter numerous bureaucratic hurdles and social prejudices.

Creating scopes
The participants of the podium agreed that a crosslinking of all renewable energies is essentially required for an economic and ecological use of biomass. For the compensation of the feed-in remuneration at cost (KEV, RPC, RIC), which shall be terminated in 2024, a convincing concept is missing so far. Precise signals are expected by the industry from the political sides. The KEV therefore has to remain. Unnecessary blockades have to be lifted by allowing the import of biomethane, acknowledging biogas for heating purposes in the cantonal energy regulations and removing cost-increasing conditions.