EEA/EAS/03/004 - Assessing the potential impact of large-scale biofuel production on agricultural land use, farmland habitats and related biodiversity

Call For Tender expired Published 03 Oct 2003

Assessing the potential impact of large-scale biofuel production on agricultural land use, farmland habitats and related biodiversity

Open call for tender: EEA/EAS/03/004

Project manager: Jan-Erik Petersen

1.1 Introduction

a) Importance of biofuels

There is now a strong interest in the use of biomass for the efficient and clean production of heat and electricity and for the production of renewable transport fuels. Biomass provided a very significant part of the EU’s renewable energy in 1999, and it appears to be the renewable energy source with the highest potential to contribute to a future sustainable energy supply for the European Union. In Finland, Sweden and Austria, it currently covers 23%, 18% and 12% of the primary energy demand. Biomass is a particularly attractive option for a number of reasons.

  • It is widespread, diverse and renewable, contributing both to the security of energy supply and to the diversification of energy sources.
  • It can produce a low-carbon source of electricity.
  • Modern biomass conversion technologies have brought emissions down to very low levels.
  • Plantations of woody crops for biomass, if carefully planned and managed, can yield benefits such as watershed protection, habitat and amenity value and the rehabilitation of degraded areas.
  • Biomass production can provide an alternative market for agricultural production, contributing to agricultural diversification and rural development.

There is a wide range of agricultural and forestry biomass resources, ranging from dedicated energy crops such as oil and starch crops, to secondary residues such as sawmill waste. Some crops, such as sugar beet, have a high-energy yield per hectare but little use can be made of their by-products. Others, such as oilseed rape, have a lower energy yield per hectare but yield a number of useful by-products (high-protein animal feed, glycerine) that contribute to overall energy and economic balance.

Energy content is only one feature of these crops. Some can only be grown in rotation with other crops, may require more irrigation and chemical inputs than others, and some provide useful cover for wildlife. Some are being exported, while others are already being imported. A simple cost-benefit analysis does not capture the full range of costs and benefits that arise, and nor does a simple comparison between biomass fuels and their fossil alternatives. An integrated framework for assessing the broader, cross-sectoral environmental impact of expanding biomass production and use is needed to ensure that all the important factors are taken into account. The EEA has done some work on this issue during the course of 2003 (see Annex A).

b) Policy background

A recent Directive (2003/30/EC) on increasing the use of biofuels in the EU is promoting the use of biomass for transport fuel. The Directive sets out a wide range of alternative fuel options to encourage a diversification of fuel supply, setting out two targets for the increase of biofuel use in transport. The aim for phase one of the Directive is to replace 2% of petrol and diesel used for transport by end 2005 with biofuels and other renewable fuels. During the second phase the substitution target is 5.75 % of all petrol and diesel for transport purposes to be met by biofuels and other renewable fuels by end 2010.

Throughout this period Member States have to report annually on their national implementation of the Directive and future plans on measures to be taken for promoting the use of biofuels or other renewable fuels to replace diesel or petrol for transport purposes. In making such plans they should consider, inter alia, the overall climate and environmental balance of these different types of fuels. By 31 December 2006 at the latest, and then every two years, the Commission is required to report to Parliament and Council on the progress made by Member States in the use of biofuels or other renewable fuels. These reports shall serve for the purpose of evaluating targets and policies for increasing the use of biofuels and other renewable fuels in transport in the EU.

The Directive provides clear guidance for reporting on the ex-ante impacts of expanding the use of biofuels in phase two. On the basis of these assessments, especially at the end of phase one, significant changes could be made to the list of biofuels, the percentage of renewable content and the schedule for introducing biofuels into the transport-fuel market. The evaluation reports of the Commission shall cover a considerable range of environmental aspects, including the lifecycle perspective of biofuels and other renewable fuels as well as the sustainability of crops used for the production of biofuels, particularly land use, degree of intensity of cultivation, crop rotation and use of pesticides.

The mid-term reform of the EU Common Agricultural Policy has introduced a new policy measure for the promotion of energy crops via a payment of 45 euro per ha per year for such crops. While the energy crop payment is currently limited to 1.5 million ha in the EU-15 countries its extension to the new Member States has to be expected. To reach the target of 5.75 % of all transport fuel to be derived from bioenergy by 2010 on the basis of agricultural biomass would mean that between 4 and 13 % of farmland in the EU-25 would have to be planted with biofuel crops (depending on the choice of crops and technological development) (Jensen, 2003, Scenario analysis for DG JRC-IPTS). This would have substantial consequences for overall land use intensity, minimising the area that is set-aside or currently abandoned and encouraging higher production intensity elsewhere.

c) Environmental impacts

The cultivation of biomass for energy has various potential impacts on soil, water, air and biodiversity. A range of studies has already addressed the potential environmental benefits and disadvantages of different biofuels. Most of these have focused on greenhouse gas and energy efficiency balances. However, a much wider range of impacts can be identified:

  • Biodiversity (changes in the use of chemical inputs, changes in crop rotations, possible arable conversion of grassland)
  • Soil (organic matter content, soil structure, nutrient content)
  • Quality of water and watersheds, use of water
  • Air and atmosphere (ozone, acidification, particulate emissions)
  • Human health (pollution of air and water, allergenic pollen from crops)
  • Amenity value.

With regard to agricultural biofuel production it is important to consider that biodiversity on farmland generally benefits from diverse cropping patterns and low intensity. On species-rich grasslands, continuity of management is important. Where high-input biofuel crops displace extensive systems, the biodiversity of those systems will suffer. Where semi-natural grasslands or diverse forests are replaced by energy crops the impact on biodiversity is likely to be significant. On the other side, a widening of crop rotations by the introduction of additional biofuel crops can increase habitat diversity in intensively used arable (and grassland) regions.

1.2 Purpose of call for tender

The purpose of the study is to assess the likely impact of increased biofuel production on agricultural land use and intensity, and consequently farmland habitats and biodiversity. The study cuts across work of the EEA in the areas of biodiversity, transport, energy and agriculture. The work is designed to contribute to:

  • the development of assessment tools and environmental knowledge of use to Member States and the Commission in their reporting under the biofuels directive;
  • the work of the EEA in the context of the 2005/6 mid-term evaluation of progress towards meeting the biodiversity target under the 6th Environmental Action Programme of the EU.

The overall task of the successful tenderer is to provide by September 2004 an assessment report of the potential impact of agricultural biofuel production (according to the targets set in Directive 2003/30/EC) on farmland habitats and biodiversity.

1.3 Tasks

The tenderer will provide in his offer a proposal for a detailed work plan for each of the following tasks:

  • 1. Assist in documenting and analysing the outcome of an expert meeting on biofuel production, agricultural land use, farmland habitats and biodiversity that will be organised by the EEA in late 2003.
  • 2. On the basis of task 1 and other information, build an analytical framework for the assessment of the environmental impact of large-scale biofuel production on agricultural land use, farmland habitats and related biodiversity, taking account of previous work at the EEA (planned EEA Signals snapshot + OECD paper), work at OECD level, and the requirements under Directive 2003/30/EC. This framework should be designed to fit into wider integrated assessment frameworks for analysing the environmental impacts of biofuels. It can also be embedded in such a framework if the successful tenderer considers this a useful approach.
  • 3. Review existing information on the impact of industrial scale biofuel crops on agricultural land use intensity, farmland habitats and biodiversity. Particular attention should be paid to habitats and species listed under the Birds and Habitats Directives.
  • 4. Compile agriculture statistics and biofuel production scenarios that are relevant to assessing the agricultural area likely to be taken up with biofuel crops in the context of the targets set in Directive 2003/30/EC for 2005 and 2010. These scenarios should take into account different combinations of the two main current approaches for the production of transport biofuels (bio-ethanol and biodiesel). They also need to investigate the potential implications of a substantial share of imported biomass as source for the production of transport biofuels. The range and number of scenarios to be analysed will be agreed with the EEA project manager on the basis of a proposal by the successful tenderer.
  • 5. Analyse the potential impact of biofuel production on habitats and biodiversity on the basis of steps 3) and 4). Potential impacts on the Natura 2000 network of protected sites need to be included in this analysis. The EEA is currently working on identifying high nature value farmland areas in the EU. The results of this work could feed into this task.
  • 6. Produce a map of the results of steps 4) and 5) and ensure integration of all spatially relevant information in a GIS system compatible with those in use at the EEA. This should as a minimum include information on present agricultural cropping patterns, likely distribution and area of biofuel crops (linked to the 2% and 5.75% targets of directive 2003/30/EC). As a second step an overlay of spatial information developed by the consultant with Natura 2000 sites and high nature value farmland areas (as far as such data is available) needs to be carried out. The EEA can provide relevant spatial data for this second step.
  • 7. Summarise the results of the previous steps in a final assessment report on the ‘environmental impact of large-scale biofuel production on agricultural land use, farmland habitats and related biodiversity’. The report should be of sufficient quality to be ready for publishing as an EEA issue report.

It is expected that the execution of the above tasks will require 120-140 working days, of which up to 25 % should remain available for completion of task 7. However, this figure is guidance only and tenderers are free to suggest a high or lower number of working days. The precise division of work and budget within the contract will be agreed with the successful tenderer at the beginning of the contract.

1.4 Geographic coverage

The indicator development and reporting has to cover the EU-25 countries (the current EU Member States and the ten acceding countries).

1.5 Time schedule and organisation of work

The work should begin within two weeks of signing the contract and be executed in discussion with the respective EEA Project Manager over a period of 8 months. A detailed work plan must be elaborated at the start of the project and submitted at least one week before the start-up meeting for approval by the EEA Project Manager.

There are no special requirements regarding the location of work. It is envisaged that up to five meetings with the EEA Project Manager or visits to the EEA will be necessary:

  • Start-up meeting and participation in the EEA expert meeting on biofuel production, agricultural land use, farmland habitats and biodiversity;
  • 1st Interim meeting to approve the analysis and documentation of the above EEA expert meeting as well as the analytical framework to be applied in the project (task 2);
  • 2nd interim meeting to discuss and approve the outcome of tasks 3) and 4);
  • 3rd interim meeting to discuss and approve the outcome of tasks 5) and 6);
  • Final meeting to discuss the completion of the final report specified in task 7.

1.6 Deliverables

The tenderer should submit the following deliverables:

  • 2 Detailed work plan for the project, one week before the start-up meeting (three hard copies and one WORD file);
  • 3 One report on the documentation of the above EEA expert meeting as well as the analytical framework to be applied in the project (task 2); approximately two months into the project (three hard copies and one WORD file);
  • 4 An interim report on the data and results arising from tasks 3) and 4) (approximately six months into the project);
  • 5 A draft final report on the outcome of tasks 5) and 6), providing a detailed assessment of the environmental impact of large-scale biofuel production on agricultural land use, farmland habitats and related biodiversity. The spatial presentation of the results should be provided as a geodatabase coverage, including meta data, with look up tables (approximately six months into the project);
  • 6 Final report on the environmental impact of large-scale biofuel production on agricultural land use, farmland habitats and related biodiversity - ready for publication as EEA issue report. (Three hard copies and one WORD file).

6.1 Payment

  • 30 % within 45 days of signing of the contract;
  • 40 % within 45 days of acceptance of deliverables 1), 2), 3) and 4);
  • The balance within 45 days of acceptance of deliverables 5) and 6).

6.2 Contract

In drawing up the bid, the tenderer should bear in mind the provisions of the standard contract attached to this invitation to tender (Annex I)

This contract can be extended according to the original conditions. Such an extension has to be applied for at least one month before expiry of the original contract.

6.3 Submission of tenders

a) The tender must include:

  • all the information and documents required by the authorising department for the appraisal of tender, on the basis of the selection and award criteria in Section 1.11;
  • the filled-out identification sheet (Annex III to this technical specification)
  • the price in accordance with Section 1.10.

b) Postal address: the European Environment Agency, Kongens Nytorv 6, DK-1050 Copenhagen K, Denmark, for the attention of Jan-Erik Petersen and marked “Reply to open call for tender EEA/EAS/03/004”.

c) Languages in which they must be drawn up: 1 of 13 official languages of the European Environment Agency (the 11 official European Community languages plus Norwegian or Icelandic).

d) Deadline for submission: 52 days from dispatch of this notice.

e) Other requirements: Tenders must be submitted in three copies and placed inside two sealed envelopes. The inner envelope, addressed to the person indicated above, should be marked: “Invitation to open call for tender EEA/EAS/03/004 Not to be opened by the internal mail department”. If self-adhesive envelopes are used, they must be sealed with tape and the sender must sign across the tape.

6.4 Prices

Prices must be fixed amounts in EURO. Apart from a total offer for the services, rates per day should be given. In addition the tenderer is requested to detail the expected part of the budget allocated to each task.

Travel and subsistence expenses likely to be incurred in the course of execution of the contract are not covered by daily rates. Estimated travel and subsistence expenses must thus be indicated separately. (Travel and subsistence expenses will not be taken into account when deciding whom to award the contract to.)

Travel and subsistence expenses shall be reimbursed in accordance with the rules and conditions relating to the payment of missions expenses in force at the Agency (see Annex IV).

The estimate of costs should be based on Annexes I, II and IV of these specifications and include any travel required to meet representatives of the Agency. In any event it should include the maximum amount of travel and subsistence expenses payable for the services provided.

Tenders from consortiums of firms or groups of service providers, contractors or suppliers must specify the role, qualifications and experience of each member of each group.

6.5 Selection of contractors and award of contracts

The selection of contractors and the award of contracts will based on the following steps:

  • 1. a check whether certain contractors should be excluded based on grounds for exclusion;
  • 2. a check on contractors’ financial and economic standing and technical and professional competence based on selection criteria;
  • 3. a comparison of tenders on the basis of the award criteria

6.5.1 Grounds for exclusion

Irrespective of the award procedure used, any contractor may be excluded from participating in a contract if:

  • they are bankrupt, being wound up or has suspended business activities, his affairs are being administered by the court, he has entered into an arrangement with creditors or similar measures or is the subject of any proceedings of that nature;
  • they have been convicted of an offence concerning his professional conduct by a judgement which is not open to appeal;
  • they have been guilty of grave professional misconduct;
  • they have not fulfilled obligations relating to the payment of social security contributions or taxes;
  • they are guilty of serious misrepresentation in supplying the information required by the authorising department.

Potential contractors must certify that they are not in one of the situations listed above by signing and including the attached Declaration on Exclusion Criteria (Annex VI).

p class="head0">6.5.2 Selection criteria

The selection criteria for contractors is based on financial and economic standing and technical and professional competence. Financial and economic standing

Evidence of financial and economic standing may be furnished by one or more of the following references:

  • statements from bankers
  • balance sheets or extracts from balance sheets
  • a statement of overall turnover and turnover relating to the relevant supplies, works or services. Technical and professional competence

Evidence of technical and professional competence must be furnished by the following references:

  • The educational and professional qualifications of the proposed consultants
  • A list of relevant contracts provided in the last three years
  • A statement of the service provider’s average annual manpower and the number of managerial staff for the last three years
  • A description of the service measures for ensuring quality
  • An indication of the proportion of the contract, which the service provider may intend to sub-contract.

6.5.3 Award criteria

The contract will be awarded to the most advantageous offer taking into account:

  • Expertise - the consultants’ knowledge of European agriculture, farmland habitats and related biodiversity, knowledge of agricultural biofuel production in Europe, agri-environmental expertise and knowledge of EU statistical data sets as evident from their previous projects and publications/reports;
  • Methodology - the degree to which the methodology and detail of the consultants’ work plan shows the capacity to provide the required deliverables;
  • Project management – based on the quality of the team organisation and project management procedures, which should be clearly outlined in the tender;
  • Understanding – the degree to which tenderers have taken into consideration all the aspects of the tasks required by the contract, such as they appear above, as well as the contents of the deliverables; and
  • Value for money – total price and number of working days offered in comparison to overall project output.

6.5.4 Points system

A points system is used to choose the best tender. The distribution of maximum points to each criterion is as follows:

  • 25 points to ‘Expertise’
  • 35 points to ‘Methodology’
  • 15 points to ‘Project Management’
  • 10 points to ‘Understanding’
  • 15 points to ‘Value for money’



Annex I: EEA standard study contract [20 Kb PDF]

Annex II: General terms and conditions applicable to contracts awarded by the EEA [32 Kb PDF]

Annex III: Identification sheet [5 Kb PDF]

Annex IV: Reimbursement of travel expenses [7 Kb PDF]

Annex V: VAT and excise duty exemption [30 Kb PDF]

Annex VI: Declaration on Exclusion Criteria [5 Kb PDF]

Annex A: A framework for evaluating the environmental impact of biofuel use [94 Kb PDF]

Annex B: Scenario Analysis of Consequence of Renewable Energy Policies for Land Area Requirements for Biomass Production [52 Kb PDF]

Annex C: EEA guidelines for geographic data and maps [3,96 Mb PDF]

Annex I-VI + A,B,C: All 9 annexes [4,15 Mb PDF]

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