Uniting the World in Favour of Global Bioenergy Development

Monday, October 08, 2018

In 2018, the World Bioenergy Association (WBA) celebrates its 10-year anniversary. For any organization, such a relatively young age means an initial period of growth — establishment of a vision and mission, structure, course of action, relationships and collaboration, and many other operational procedures to be decided, settled, organized, and fulfilled.

For a global organization, solving these questions entails multiple considerations. At the present time, developing international networks and fostering worldwide relationships remain as the main activities of the WBA.

Since our establishment in 2008, the association has been committed to carrying out our central mission: To promote the increasing utilization of bioenergy globally in an efficient and sustainable way and to support the business environment for the bioenergy sector

. The global challenge of climate change and the need to step away from fossil fuels inspire us and remain the main drivers of our activity. Biomass, being a CO2 neutral renewable resource, can be converted to a solid, gaseous, or liquid alternative energy source.

This reality allows us to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy in heating and cooling, electricity, and liquid fuels for transportation markets. Promotion of the bioenergy sector enables the WBA to cooperate with scientific and research and development organizations, researchers, leading development companies, and non-governmental organizations. Explaining the common position of the bioenergy business to decision-makers occupies the most important part of our activity.

With members from more than 60 countries representing all continents, the WBA is currently in a position to track bioenergy’s developments, emerging technologies, new research, and policy changes across different countries and regions.

We collaborate with global organizations including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the International Energy Association, and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) (official observer status), and we participate directly in different renewable energy alliances such as the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21), the REN Alliance, Go100%RE, and others; proof that WBA has achieved international recognition as a reliable partner, advocate, and developer of renewable energy.

The publication of our annual flagship report (Global Bioenergy Statistics), factsheets and conference speeches, and delivery of seminars and international webinars promoted all over the world allow us to share our expert knowledge about bioenergy market changes and various challenges faced by the sector.

Dissemination of best practices and celebrating success stories of bioenergy development is another element of our activity. This is the way to inspire decision-makers and developers to prepare plans and encourage action in the continued downsizing of fossil fuels use.

The WBA consistently participates at the annual Conference of the Parties, or COP, (organized by the UN Framework on Climate Change). In Marrakesh in 2016, after the Paris conference and agreement, the WBA announced a Fossil Fuel Exit Strategy—the only strategy which can fulfill the Paris Agreement. It is a step-by-step plan to be
implemented in every country that leverages all available renewable energy sources to replace the use of all fossil fuels by 2050.

Decision-makers can use different tools, as we still have a long way to go from the current 19 per cent market share of renewable enrgy in energy consumption, but we believe a
simple carbon tax is the most likely to produce the desired result.

After 10 years, the WBA has found its voice in the international arena, but we want to go further. We have recently broadened our global presence with the planning and opening of WBA branch offices. With these, we intend to improve and expand our international reach with new access to local and regional bioenergy associations.

The existing network of bioenergy experts and developers who work daily at our branch offices allows us to enhance the effectiveness of coun-try missions and delegation visits. They help us improve the communication of expertise, ideas, and the latest in industry developments, ultimately contributing to opening markets for companies
with a global approach.

The launch of BIOENBIOENERGY magazine is another initiative to unite the world in favour of global bioenergy development and help companies, researchers, and politicians consolidate their efforts to achieving a better, cleaner world. For example, leading countries with well-developed sustainable bioenergy, like Sweden or Austria, show that bioenergy can serve as an environmentally-friendly solution to solve the problem of
agricultural and forestry residues. This industry is proven to create jobs and improve national energy independence.

Climate change brought all nations together in Paris, as politicians from all over the world declared their commitment to combatting its negative impacts. What is clear is that we are
still at the beginning of that long path. Inspiring success stories and technological breakthroughs in the fields of heat and electricity production are not enough. The transportation sector is still far away from clear signs of changed behaviour and new technologies are crucially needed. The WBA is expanding its activity in this sector, as we are sure that aviation, maritime, and long-distance transportation will require solutions from liquid biofuels. International cooperation and united efforts will hasten this path to a better and cleaner world.

Remigijus Lapinskas is President of World Bioenergy Association