The price of energy from woody biomass.

The video-investigation, lasting about 30 minutes, investigates the issue of deforestation aimed at the production of woody biomass, qualified as renewable energy sources by the European Commission and therefore subsidised by the Member States. Over half of Europe's "renewable" energy is produced by burning wood. It is called forest biomass and according to environmentalists the approximately € 17 billion in subsidies it receives each year put European forests at risk. This is why the European Parliament is discussing whether to continue to subsidize it.

"Spotlight", the investigative column of Rainews24 edited by Valerio Cataldi, in the episode of Friday 15 July 2022 at 20.30 (and replicated on Sunday 17 July at 10.30 and 20.30) investigates the impact of incentives for wood biomass in Italy and Romania with the investigation "The affair of forest cuts" by Ludovica Jona.

In Romania - a country where the last virgin forests of Europe are located and several forest guards were killed by the "wood mafia" -  the team followed the operations of denunciation of the activist Tiberiu Boșutar, who in September suffered an attempt homocide.

In Italy, however, the investigation reconstructs with unpublished testimonies and data the path of the wood that is burned in the biomass plants of Calabria, Sicily and Sardinia, discovering that it comes largely from Tuscany. According to the judiciary, some Italian forest cuts were found to be illegal and in Crotone (Calabria) - where there are three biomass plants, including one of the largest in Europe - the health authorities intervened by reporting the health risks to citizens caused by the dust produced by the plants.


© Photo: Catalin Prisacariu


Team members

Ludovica Jona

Ludovica Jona is a freelance journalist and a communication expert based in Rome.

Ludovica Jona

Cătălin Prisacariu

Cătălin Prisacariu is an investigative journalist based in Bucharest, Romania.

cătălin prisacariu

Filippo Bellantoni

Filippo Bellantoni is an Italian journalist and videomaker.

Filippo Bellantoni
€14.500 allocated on 13/12/2021


need resources for your own investigative story?

Journalismfund Europe's flexible grants programmes enable journalists to produce relevant public interest stories with a European mind-set from international, national, and regional perspectives.


support independent cross-border investigative journalism

We rely on your support to continue the work that we do. Make a gift of any amount today.