Covenant on sustainability of biomass. Annual report for 2023

In 2015, energy companies and environmental organisations concluded the Biomass Sustainability Covenant (hereafter referred to as the Covenant). The Covenant concerns the sustainability of subsidised biomass used for co-firing in coal-fired power plants in the Netherlands. The Covenant also stipulates that an independent party must report annually on the efforts made and results achieved.

This report describes the efforts made and results achieved for the year 2023 concerning biomass use and compliance with sustainability requirements. The data in this report were provided by the energy companies. The energy companies provided confidential detailed data at delivery level. Due to competition rules, these are presented in aggregate in this report, and for the same reason we sometimes use qualitative terms such as ‘the vast majority’ rather than precise figures.

Biomass use

In 2023, a total of 1,788,550 tonnes of biomass was used for co-firing in coal-fired power stations in the Netherlands. This is an 31% decrease compared to 2022. Wood pellets accounted for 97.3 per cent by mass of the biomass used in 2023. Of the total biomass used for co-firing in 2023, 100% consisted of biogenic residual and waste flows (Category 5). In 2023, the majority of biomass was from North America (71%). A further 19.2% came from Asia and 9.8% from the EU.

Compliance with sustainability requirements

The statutory sustainability requirements will be covered 100% in 2023, according to the RVO overview of the coverage of the requirements. Because no Category 1 and 2 biomass was used (wood from forests), the requirements exceeding the statutory minimum do not apply.