Biofuture launches Clean Energy Ministerial Initiative to accelerate bioenergy in energy transition


In a high-level launch event, government representatives, the International Energy Agency and top industry leaders called for international collaboration and engagement with private sector to achieve global climate and energy transition goals.

In a high-level launch event, government representatives, the International Energy Agency and top industry leaders called for international collaboration and engagement with private sector to achieve global climate and energy transition goals.

The Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) high-level global forum has officially launched the new Biofuture Platform 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 sustainable 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 sustainable 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 coordinator 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 sustainable 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: “Modern bioenergy currently accounts for almost 50% of total renewable energy consumption. Our analysis shows that it will be paramount to a successful global energy transition. Decarbonising electricity alone is not enough. 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, particularly in transport, buildings and industry sectors,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.


Shawn Tupper, Associate Deputy Minister of Natural Resources, Canada, welcomed the Biofuture Platform’s post-Covid 19 recovery agenda, commenting: “We’re excited to launch the new CEM Biofuture Platform Initiative as the cornerstone of public-private collaboration to deploy bioenergy, expand its trade, and accelerate its use around the world. These efforts are more important than ever as we begin our post-COVID recovery. We need to use the pandemic as an accelerant to harness our combined will, expertise and resources to build back better and forge a new path to a cleaner, more resilient future.

Daniel R. Simmons, Assistant Secretary, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, US Department of Energy spoke of the importance of collaboration across federal agencies and partner countries: “We partner very closely with the US Department of Agriculture through the Biomass Research and Development Board. Through the Board’s bioeconomy initiative, agencies work together to align their efforts and collaborate in different inter-agency working groups. Through these bioeconomy initiatives, the US Government can make sure our federal agencies are aligned and we have a unified effort to bring to the international stage. Collaboration is critical.”

Dr Renu Swarup, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, India, highlighted the importance of India’s partnerships: “The Biofuture Platform Initiative is going to play a very key role in connecting the industry and a large number of countries. I would like to call on all member countries to come forward to help us bring together our research efforts on to a common convergence platform so that these technologies, which are so critical, can be deployed to play an important role in our bioeconomy.”

Julia Nolan, Head of International Energy, United Kingdom, spoke of the importance of international cooperation:“International cooperation is essential if we are to grow the role of sustainable bioenergy globally. We need a coordinated approach to share best practices and to stimulate the innovation that is key to developing affordable, new biofuels – for example in aviation where it is badly needed.”

Mr. Thiago Barral, CEM Sherpa for Brazil; President, Energy Planning Agency, Brazil, reiterated the need to increase engagement with industry: “This is a key aspect of the initiative, as our countries have decided that a much stronger engagement with the private sector is necessary. Not by coincidence, we shall have the pleasure to listen to the views of key industry leaders from Asia, Europe and the Americas today. Our goal is to build a continued, sustained engagement with industry, so that governments, regulators, academia, and international agencies can align priorities and expectations to unlock a whole new level of new investments in the low carbon bioeconomy.”

Andriah Feby Misna, Director of Bioenergy, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, Indonesia, spoke on Indonesia’s ambition to play a key role in a transition to clean energy: “We hope through the Biofuture Platform initiative we can collaborate with each other to encourage accelerating the transition to a sustainable low carbon economy.”

Dr. Pramod Chaudhari, Executive Chairman, Praj Industries, spoke of the importance of cooperation when determining future approaches to biofuels policy: “There is a need for global standards and global trade policy to encourage and accelerate collaboration across countries.”

Peter Vanacker, President and CEO, Neste Corporation, spoke on the importance of the recent Biofuture Platform principles on post-Covid recovery: “The global recovery [from Covid-19] must be green. I fully agree with the recently adopted Biofuture principles for a post-Covid bioeconomy recovery and acceleration. We must not backtrack with our ambitions for biofuels – they are an indispensable part of decarbonizing transportation.”

Ms. Geneviève Brisson, Senior Director for Global Government Affairs, Enerkem Inc, on how policy initiatives can help industry foster innovation:“An industry like ours needs long-term mandates for low carbon fuels to ensure market stability, as well as fiscal incentives to level the playing field as new technologies are commercialized.”

About the Biofuture Platform

The Biofuture Platform is a government-led, multi-stakeholder initiative designed to take action on climate change and support the Sustainable Development Goals by promoting international coordination on the sustainable low-carbon bioeconomy. It was launched in Marrakesh at the COP 22 climate talks in November 2016. Since February, 1, 2019, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has been the Facilitator (Secretariat) of the initiative. The Biofuture Platform has twenty member countries: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Morocco, Mozambique, the Netherlands, Paraguay, the Philippines, Sweden, United Kingdom, the United States of America and Uruguay. As a multi-stakeholder initiative, a number of international organizations, academia, and private sector associations are also involved and engaged as official partners.

About the CEM

The Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) is a high-level global forum to promote policies and programs that advance clean energy technology, to share lessons learned and best practices, and to encourage the transition to a global clean energy economy. CEM Initiatives are based on areas of common interest among participating governments and other stakeholders, focusing on empowering energy decision makers around the world with the up-to-date information and tools they need to improve the policy environment for clean energy. As low-cost, high-impact technical works, CEM initiatives also facilitate international coordination that amplifies each government’s clean energy deployment efforts. 

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About the IEA

The International Energy Agency (IEA) works to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for its 30 member countries and beyond. Its mission is guided by four main areas of focus: energy security, economic development, environmental awareness and engagement worldwide. Headquartered in Paris, the IEA is at the heart of global dialogue on energy, providing authoritative analysis through a wide range of publications, including the flagship World Energy Outlook and the IEA Market Reports; data and statistics, such as Key World Energy Statistics and the Monthly Oil Data Service; and a series of training and capacity building workshops, presentations, and resources.