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2020 July 01

COVID19 and Bioenergy: Impacts and future outlook

The spread of COVID19 virus and subsequent measures taken to control the spread had a significant impact on the bioenergy sector worldwide. Measures such as national/local lockdowns, social distancing guidelines and restrictions on movement of people and goods has led to a significant challenge to the bioenergy community.

WBA initiated the survey ‘COVID 19 and impact on global bioenergy sector’. The survey was open for responses from bioenergy stakeholders for the duration of 3 weeks (05 – 26 May 2020). The aim of the survey was to understand the impacts of the COVID19 pandemic and the resulting lockdown on the bioenergy industry.

In terms of impact, 52% of the respondents indicated a moderate to significant effect of COVID19 pandemic on bioenergy businesses. Moreover, the impact on biofuel production and equipment manufacturing, cash flows/revenues, employment and investments was 40%, 44%, 22% and 38% respectively.

Based on the results, WBA issues the following key messages for policy makers:

  1. Bioenergy as essential service. Bioenergy (including solid biomass, liquid biofuels and biogas) has provided clean, on demand energy and its role in meeting end use of electricity, heating and transport fuels should be recognized as essential product and service in times of crisis.
  2. A bioenergy future. Policy makers should assure investors and the wider bioenergy community of their support to bioenergy and its crucial role in reducing fossil fuel use, generating jobs, local economic development and combating climate change.  
  3. Dis-incentivize fossil fuels. Low oil prices, low cost of renewable energy sources and the momentum towards a clean energy future provide the opportunity for policy makers to dis-incentivize fossil fuels development by eliminating subsidies, implementing carbon pricing policies and developing fossil fuel exit strategies.
  4. Build back better with Bioenergy. Recognizing the crucial role of bioenergy in the global energy mix, governments should include support to sustainable bioenergy technologies and pathways as key themes at the centre of economic recovery packages. No more fossil fuel support.
  5. Time for ambition and action. Recognizing that we face a climate urgency, national governments must increase their climate ambition by setting long term, ambitious and stable targets for bioenergy and renewable energy.  

Download the survey report here: Link

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