The EU’s green fuels law: A clean shift for EU transport fuels?

November 26, 2021

T&E recommendations for the Renewable Energy Directive review

The Renewable Energy Directive (RED) is the main EU legislation that regulates the use of renewable fuels in Europe. But it has been a disaster to date.

It set a high target of 10% for renewables in transport in 2020 for each country. But the right sustainability safeguards were not put in place, meaning crop based biofuels like palm and soy oil became the dominant biofuels. This led to widespread deforestation, biodiversity loss and more CO2 emissions than the fuels they replaced.

The review of the RED, proposed in July, as part of the Fit for 55 package, is a unique opportunity to accelerate the use of genuinely renewable fuels for the long-term decarbonisation of transport – renewable electricity, renewable hydrogen and e-fuels.

Compared to the current RED, the Commission’s proposal does create new incentives for electricity and renewable fuels of non-biological origin (RFNBO). But it doesn’t make any meaningful changes to fix the failed biofuels rules.

T&E’s latest position paper outlines a number of recommendations for the new RED:

  • Reward renewable electricity by expanding its scope to private charging and incentivise EV charging with additional renewable electricity.
  • Support an ambitious but lower RFNBO target, reduced from the proposed 2.6% to 1.6% to match the 2030 demand for RFNBOs in aviation and shipping.
  • Phase-out palm and soy by 2022 at the latest.
  • Remove all crop biofuels, including intermediate crops, from the target by 2030 at the latest.
  • Exclude unsustainable advanced biofuels, like Crude Tall Oil.
  • Ensure that targets in ReFuelEU (Aviation) and FuelEU (Maritime) are harmonised with the RED targets to avoid driving unsustainable volumes of alternative fuels.

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