Deloitte cover smallBioenergy is a very versatile and flexible solution that can assist the main challenges of achieving climate neutrality by 2050 with job creation and economic growth. Each additional Mtoe of biomass for energy could lead to an impact of 359 million euros in terms of GDP and an employment creation of 7.376 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE), on average, while preventing 2,4 MtCO2eq emissions due to the replacement of fossil fuels for energy.

Currently, millions of citizens rely on bioenergy to heat their homes, not only through individual heating systems but also through collective systems, such as district heating. Moreover, many industrial processes, especially within wood-related industries, such as the paper and pulp industries, rely on reusing their residues to supply energy to their processes. In the future, the number of citizens and industries that rely on the use of bioenergy will increase as further development of this renewable source is required to achieve the EU emissions targets for 2030 and 2050.

Deloitte has analysed the future role of bioenergy in achieving climate neutrality, as well as its contribution to society considering the socio-economic and environmental impacts not only today but also on the 2050 horizon. The assessment carried out estimates the impact of bioenergy on the economy in terms of GDP and employment creation, paying particular attention to its effect on the rural environment, while also considering the impacts of bioenergy on the mitigation of carbon emissions, the contribution to forest health, the security of the energy supply and the development of a circular economy as well as the complementarities of bioenergy with other renewable energies and the adoption of clean hydrogen solutions.



  • Key findings

    Economic Growth and Employment Impact:

    • In 2019, the impact of bioenergy on employment reached 794.392 FTE, with 629.104 and 165.288 FTE mobilized directly and indirectly, respectively.
    • In 2019, the operation and maintenance of the different solutions represented 22% of the direct employment created, followed by the manufacture of equipment, representing 11%, and the construction/installation, which accounted for 4% of the direct employment generated.
    • The economic impact of the bioenergy sector in terms of GDP accounted for 34.116 million euros in 2019, representing 0,25% of the EU27’s GDP: the direct impact reached 24.406 million euros, while the indirect impact represented 9.710 million euros. The impact in terms of GDP of the bioenergy sector in the EU27 was higher than that of sectors such as fishing and aquaculture or coke and refined petroleum products manufacture and comparable to that of others such as mining and quarrying.
    • European companies are global leaders when it comes to technological development, manufacturing, and fuel production of bioenergy. In fact, about 74% of the bioenergy technology suppliers are based within the EU. These companies represent a globally competitive industry and have the necessary knowledge and professionals to maintain this leadership as a R&D hub for bioenergy that promotes vibrant commercial activity.

    Environmental Benefits:

    • In 2019, the replacement of fossil fuels for energy by biomass prevented 290 MtCO2eq emissions, equivalent to around 8% of the EU27 GHG emissions. Bioenergy is contributing to the decarbonisation of fossil fuel intensive sectors where carbon emissions are difficult to abate such as the industry and transport sectors.
    • By substituting fossil fuels for bioenergy, the primary energy production of bioenergy allowed the replacement of 132 Mtoe from fossil fuels in 2019, reducing the dependence on foreign countries for their energy supply by promoting domestic renewable energy resources.

    Security of supply:

    • Bioenergy in the European Union is mainly produced utilising local biomass, with an import dependency remaining at 3,7%. The replacement of imported fossil fuels with domestic renewable energy improves the security of the energy supply and reduces the risk of supply problems resulting from the socio-political context in foreign countries.
    • the adoption of bioenergy brings price stability benefits, key for energy security. The cost of biomass for energy proves to be both more stable over time and cheaper than those of fossil fuels. Moreover, a price increase of natural gas results in a price increase in electricity, which, coupled with the difficulty of forecasting prices, puts citizens and industry at risk of facing fluctuating energy costs which can increase energy poverty and decrease the competitiveness of the European industry.

    Future outlook:

    • Considering the scenarios reported by the Impact Assessment of the European Commision, the average gross inland consumption of biomass for energy would be near 220 Mtoe in 2050, showing an annual increase of about 2% between 2019 and 2050. This annual increase is actually lower than that shown by bioenergy in the last 10 years, which was around 2,6%, showing that the future increase could correspond to a business-as-usual scenario.
    • The increase in the biomass consumption for energy could serve as a vehicle for job creation and an economic opportunity for countries throughout the European Union. According to the assessment carried out, each additional Mtoe of biomass for energy would lead to an impact of 261 million euros in terms of GDP and an employment creation of 5.181 FTE, on average.
    • Furthermore, based on the average gross inland consumption of biomass for energy in 2050 reported by the Impact Assessment of the European Commision6, the replacement of fossil fuels for energy by biomass could prevent, on average, 487 MtCO2eq emissions for that year. Hence, each additional Mtoe of biomass for energy could mitigate 2,4 MtCO2eq emissions due to the replacement of fossil fuels for energy, while creating economic growth and employment.
  • Towards an Integrated Energy System: Assessing Bioenergy's Socio-Economic and Environmental Impact
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