Better Biomass as first certification scheme fully approved concerning SDE+ subsidy for bioenergy

May 3, 2019

The Better Biomass certification scheme has now been fully approved in the framework of the Dutch Decree conformity assessment of solid biomass for energy applications. This approval is applicable to all five biomass categories that are distinguished, and applies for the global use of the ‘Better Biomass certified’ claim. Better Biomass is the first certification scheme with full coverage. With this approval, the market has access to a robust certification scheme to independently demonstrate the sustainable origin and utilisation of biomass for energy applications. This is also important for economic operators that have been granted or will apply for the SDE+ subsidy and have to demonstrate they comply with the legal sustainability requirements.

The Decree and the related Regulation conformity assessment of solid biomass for energy applications include the sustainability, chain-of-custody and governance requirements that need to be covered in certification schemes. This set of requirements was the result of the Dutch Energy Agreement (2013) and are adopted by the SDE+ subsidy scheme for renewable energy production. When using biomass for co-firing of biomass in coal-fired power plants, in boilers ≥ 5 MW steam from wood pellets, in wood pellets fired boilers ≥ 5 MWth and ≤ 100 MWe, or in wood pellets fired boiler for district heating, companies have to demonstrate that they comply with the legal requirements by means of certification and/or verification to qualify for SDE+ subsidy.

Scope of approval

The Regulation distinguishes five biomass categories, ranging from biomass from (sustainably managed) forests to residues and waste from industry. The sustainability requirements that are applicable depend on the biomass category. In November 2018, Better Biomass already received approval for all biomass categories and for all but one sustainability requirements. One element concerning the declaration that an organisation has been assessed to the definition of protected species as laid down in the Regulation would need to make more explicit. Better Biomass has successfully updated its scheme documents to close this short-coming.

With this full approval, biomass producers from all over the world can bring their products with a Better Biomass certificate to Dutch market for the production of bioenergy. Better Biomass is not only applicable to solid biomass, but also to liquid and gaseous biomass for biofuels, power and or heat production and bio-based products. In this way, the biomass producer has more flexibility to market its products under a harmonised set of sustainability requirements.