The Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) high-level global forum has officially launched the new Biofuture Platform Clean Energy Ministerial Initiative. The workstream, which will be implemented in close partnership with the private sector, will raise international ambition and advance sustainable bioenergy and biomaterials production, trade and use globally, via policies and programmes to make bioenergy a key enabler in clean energy transitions.

The workstream is a significant milestone for the four-year old multi-stakeholder initiative which is backed by its twenty member governments and the International Energy Agency, and is expected to increase awareness of the role of bioenergy in global economies, drive international ministerial engagement and private sector partnerships.

The launch of the Biofuture Platform CEM Initiative was marked with a virtual event attended by senior representatives and industry leaders from several countries including Brazil, Canada, India, Indonesia, Netherlands, UK, and US. The event was co-chaired by the Minister of Mines and Energy of Brazil, Bento Albuquerque, and the Executive Director of the IEA, Dr Fatih Birol, in the IEA's capacity of operating agent of the new CEM initiative.

It follows the Platform’s Five Principles for Post-COVID Bioeconomy Recovery announced in August, that are designed to help economies create jobs in a sector severely hit by the coronavirus crisis. Principles recognise bioenergy for its potential to create jobs and recommended that the sector be considered in post-Covid 19 recovery plans.

Global representatives of the Platform called for greater international collaboration and knowledge sharing across the bioenergy sector to encourage dialogue from governments and within industries. The Biofuture Platform CEM Initiative regards this cross-cutting work as an imperative cornerstone of the ambition to achieve a global sustainable transition to cleaner energy.

Key takeaways from the event included:

  • A need for greater recognition of bioenergy in clean energy transition plans
  • Increased international collaboration, particularly when exploring advances in bioenergy technologies
  • Bringing policy initiatives to the forefront to ensure greater recognition around mandates and innovation

Opening the event, Hon. Bento Albuquerque, Minister of State of Mines and Energy, Brazil, called for greater collaboration between CEM members: “Sustainable acceleration of bioenergy and biomaterial production requires a comprehensive set of policies, measures and regulation. It is crucial to learn from each other’s successes and mistakes, so that the best and most efficient policies can be adapted and replicated around the world… This forum, which we have created together, is the best place to learn from national experiences in a systematic way.”

Highlighting the IEA’s view that bioenergy is the overlooked giant of renewable energy, Dr Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA stated: “Bioenergy currently accounts for almost 50% of total renewable energy consumption [modern bioenergy 48%; compared to solar + wind together 14]. Our analysis shows that it will be paramount to a successful global energy transition… In order to meet international climate and energy goals, the use of modern bioenergy will need to triple from today’s levels, providing 12% of total global cumulative emissions reductions. This very significant contribution towards decarbonisation cannot be understated. “

The 11th iteration of the CEM, currently being hosted by Saudi Arabia, was created to promote initiatives that help accelerate the transition to a clean energy future. As highlighted in recent IEA and Biofuture Platform reports, as the overlooked giant of the renewable energy sector, bioenergy can help deliver a successful transition to low-carbon energy systems.