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RED II sustainability criteria for biomass for the SDE++ scheme

Published on:
22 May 2023
Last checked on:
21 July 2023

If you wish to use biomass, other than wood pellets, for the generation of combined heat and power or for the production of green gas to feed into the gas network, you can apply for the Stimulation of Sustainable Energy Production (SDE++) scheme. In some cases, you will have to demonstrate that the biomass used meets the Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) sustainability criteria.

Objective

The objective of the revised European Renewable Energy Directive (hereinafter referred to as the RED II) is to stimulate the generation of sustainable energy. Whether your installation has to meet the RED II sustainability criteria depends on whether you already had to meet the RED I sustainability criteria or the date on which you applied for the SDE ++ subsidy.

  • If you generate heat and/or power from liquid biomass, then you already had to meet the RED I sustainability criteria. You will therefore now also have to meet the RED II sustainability criteria.
  • If you do not generate heat and/or power from liquid biomass and you have applied for an SDE++ subsidy after 21 December 2018, you will have to meet the sustainability criteria if the power output of your installation exceeds the thresholds as laid down in the RED II.
  • If you do not generate heat and/or power from liquid biomass and you applied for an SDE++ subsidy before 21 December 2018, the biomass you use is not subject to sustainability criteria.

SDE++ categories

The Designation Regulation ('Regeling aanwijzing categorieën duurzame energieproductie en klimaattransitie') and General Implementing Regulations for Stimulating Sustainable Energy Production and Climate Transition ('Algemene uitvoeringsregeling stimulering duurzame energieproductie en klimaattransitie') state which facilities that have to meet the RED II sustainability criteria. This applies to biomass facilities other than those that burn wood pellets. A brief summary of the SDE++ categories to which these sustainability criteria apply is given below:

    RED II sustainability scheme

    SDE++ categories, other than wood pellet facilities Definition used for power output RED II criteria apply to power outputs of
    Solid biomass for the generation of heat and/or power Boiler's nominal input capacity ≥20 MW
    Liquid biomass for the generation of heat and/or power Boiler's nominal input capacity No lower threshold
    Production of biogas for the generation of heat and/or power Boiler's nominal input capacity ≥2 MW
    Production of biogas to feed into the gas network Nominal sustainable gas power output ≥20 MW*

    * In the Designation Regulation for categories for 2022, the threshold for new SDE++ applications has been reduced from 20 MW to 2 MW.

    Other sustainability criteria apply to installations that burn wood pellets; see the page on Sustainability criteria for solid biomass under the SDE+/SDE++ scheme.

    Demonstrating sustainability

    You have to demonstrate that the biomass used meets the RED II requirements. You do so by using certification schemes that have been approved by the European Commission (EC). Your business itself must usually also has to be certified.

    See the list of certification schemes that have been approved by the EC

    For some types of installations, certification of the biomass and of the business are not compulsory: for example, manure mono-fermenters and sewage sludge fermenters. See the Verification protocol for Sustainable Biomass – Demonstrating compliance with the RED II sustainability criteria for the SDE++ Scheme and EU-ETS (hereinafter referred to as the Verification Protocol), for the facilities to which the protocol applies and for other ways to demonstrate their sustainability. The Verification Protocol can be found under 'Downloads' at the bottom of this page.

    Conformity year statement

    Are you an energy producer? If so, you report annually on the sustainability of the biomass used by means of an conformity year statement. In the conformity year statement you list the sustainability characteristics of all the biomass you have used at your facility. Since January 2023 it is also possible to use the conformity year statement to demonstrate ETS zero emissions. More information about this subject can be found on the Dutch Emissions Authority (NEa) website.   

    Downloads of the following documents (in Dutch), which can be used in your reports, are provided at the bottom of this web page:

    • Format list for RED II biomass consignments for the conformity year statement;
    • Guide to the format for stainable RED II biomass consignments.

    Verification Protocol

    A recognised CAB draws up the conformity year statement. What requirements the biomass you use at your facility have to meet? These are set out in the RED II. The requirements depend on the type of biomass you use. The way in which you demonstrate sustainability is stated in the Verification Protocol. You can find the protocol under ‘Downloads’ at the bottom of this page. More information about the role and requirements of CABs is available in the section on CABs below.

    A new version of the RED II Verification Protocol will apply as of January 2023. This protocol has been amended so that it can also be used to demonstrate the sustainability of biomass in the context of the Emissions Trading System (ETS) zero emissions report. See the Dutch Emissions Authority (NEa)’s website for more information on this.

    To prepare the conformity year statement for energy supplied in 2023, you must refer to the Verification protocol for Sustainable Biomass – Demonstrating compliance with the RED II sustainability criteria for the SDE++ Scheme and EU-ETS.

    Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs)

    CABs play a role in demonstrating the sustainability of biomass. They carry out two different tasks:

    • Certification of biomass and energy operators. They work for a certification scheme recognised by the European Commission.
    • Carrying out verifications based on the Verification Protocol. This applies to the verification of individual consignments or issuing an conformity year statement to an energy producer. This can only be carried out by CABs recognised by the Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy (EZK) for working with the Verification Protocol.

    To be recognised, a CAB must be accredited for the Verification Protocol SDE++ RED II by the Dutch Accreditation Council (RvA). To be recognised, a CAB may – instead of being accredited – also submit other (alternative) evidence. The CAB in question uses this evidence to demonstrate that it is able to work with the Verification Protocol. Alternative evidence is:

    • evidence of a current application to the RvA for accreditation for the SDE++ RED II Verification Protocol;
    • evidence that the CAB carries out audits for an EC-recognised scheme and meets the ISO standards 14065 and 17065.

    The Verification Protocol SDE++ RED II for which a CAB can apply to the RvA for accreditation can be found at the bottom of this page under 'Downloads'.

    Has the RvA confirmed the accreditation application of your CAB? Then the CAB can submit a request for recognition to us by email.

    Recognised CABs

    Normec QS is the only approved CAB at this time. As soon as more CABs have been recognised for the Verification Protocol, we will add them to the table below.

      Overview of recognised CABs

      Name Scheme Decision
      NORMEC QS B.V. (also known as ‘Quality Service’) RED II Verification Protocol 28 December 2022

      Advances

      If you qualify for SDE+/SDE++ subsidy, you will receive an advance on a yearly basis from us. We deduct this advance from the actual subsidy amount you are entitled to, based on the information in the report you submit to us. You may produce energy using biomass which sustainability has not been demonstrated or is insufficiently demonstrated. However, we cannot give subsidy for this unsustainably produced biomass.

      The Dutch Emissions Authority (NEa) monitors the assurance of sustainability. Among other things, it monitors the implementation of activities carried out by CABs.

      More information

      Commissioned by:
      • Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy
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