Earlier this year, the European Parliament voted on the renewable energy directive (RED). While the outcome was not ideal, we welcomed Parliament’s vote because it caps food-based biofuels, redirects investments into the fuels of the future (electricity, advanced biofuels) and ends support for palm oil biodiesel.
The discussion about Europe’s biofuels policy is in full swing and the biofuels industry has assembled an impressive lobbying army to spread the gospel. Hardly a day goes by without the biofuels industry organising some event to promote the benefits of biodiesel and ethanol. This is a good indication of how important EU legislation is for biofuel producers. Indeed, growing crops and then turning them into fuels to burn in combustion engines is a costly and inefficient business. The truth is the biofuels industry was created and survives on generous and sustained support in the form of mandates, tax breaks and subsidies.
In November 2016 the Commission presented its new proposal for a Renewable Energy Directive in the 2021-2030 period. The main elements of the proposal on transport are to reduce the cap on food and feed-based biofuels to 3.8% in 2030 and to establish a mandate on fuel suppliers, requiring them to blend 6.8% of advanced fuels by 2030 (T&E’s position on biofuels in the RED can be found here).
Sustainable advanced biofuels can provide significant savings of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) compared to fossil fuels, without using productive agricultural land. The European Commission’s proposal on the Renewable Energy Directive II sets a specific sub-target for advanced biofuels. This briefing is an attempt to suggest a more realistic and sustainable target level for advanced biofuels in the new Renewable Energy Directive.
The environment committee of the European Parliament today adopted a resolution urging the European Commission to phase out the use of vegetable oils for biofuels, preferably by 2020. All political groups agreed on the need to stop incentives to biofuels that cause deforestation and peatland drainage, which includes a range of feedstocks such as palm oil, soy and rapeseed, The resolution was on an own-initiative report on palm oil and deforestation.
The European Commission’s leaked draft proposal to continue supporting land-based biofuels until 2030 will increase greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from European transport over the period 2021-2030 by an amount equivalent to the emissions from the Netherlands in 2014. These are extra emissions from using these biofuels instead of regular diesel and petrol.
Despite the perception that public recharging is a major barrier to the mass uptake of electric vehicles (EV), public chargers are only used for about 5% of charging events, including on-street city charging, car parks and fast charging along road corridors. The data compiled in various studies to date shows that the vast majority of EV charging happens at home or work and it is a lack of choice and availability of electric cars that is the principal barrier.
Which comes first, electric cars or the recharging points? How to tackle this dilemma has been the subject of considerable debate. This report examines the importance and availability of public charging infrastructure and how to efficiently expand the existing network as the number of electric vehicles on the road increases.
Europe has already spent half a billion US dollars on natural gas infrastructure for its shipping sector in order to comply with an EU law – and continuing its roll-out is likely to cost governments and investors $22 billion by 2050, a new study has found. Liquified natural gas (LNG) will reduce shipping emissions by just 6%, at most, compared to the replaced diesel fuel, the research by the UMAS consultancy shows.
In light of the recently adopted initial IMO strategy on reduction of GHG emissions and the Paris agreement, there is a need to better understand the potential market for LNG as a marine fuel, bunkering infrastructure investments required and associated risks in the context of shipping GHG reduction. This report attempts to assess the prospective future public and private financial investments by EU member states into LNG port/bunkering infrastructure consistent with EU plans to foster the widespread uptake of LNG as a means of decarbonising the shipping sector up to 2050. EU member states are mandated to set up LNG port infrastructure under the 2014 Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive.