Chapter 3.png
  • New car CO2 targets provide certainty for power sector – think tank

    A consistent set of stricter EU rules on CO2 emissions from cars and vans could help reach climate goals while boosting the renewable energy sector, and at relatively little cost, according to a new report from an energy think tank that advises the European Commission. The report says electricity providers can play a central role if they recognise the overall value of pushing for tighter CO2 standards in road transport.

    The Commission is due to revise the existing EU CO2 standards for light-duty vehicles (cars and vans of up to 3.5 tonnes) this year. The 2015 limit of 130g of CO2 per km for the average new car was already achieved in 2013, and the 2021 limit is set at 95g, according to official figures. The existing legislation says post-2020 targets have to be set by the end of 2015, but they are still under discussion.

    Now the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP), a global non-profit team of experts focused on economic and environmental sustainability in the power sector, has produced a policy brief for the EU. It says if the EU can coordinate its policies on light-duty vehicles and the electricity sector as it aims to in its Energy Union strategy, the benefits in several areas will be considerable.

    The EU would take a step towards meeting its climate goals, it says, while improving the quality of life of its citizens, boosting the renewable energy sector, and making the EU more competitive globally in transport and energy. But for this to happen, Europe will have to capitalise on the ‘digital revolution’ that is now starting in the power sector, and send signals to the power operators and planners about the regulatory regime they can rely on over the next decades.

    The policy brief recommends that the best way forward is for the EU to adopt a consistent set of short- and long-term obligatory CO2 reduction standards for light-duty vehicles, complemented by an ultra-low-emissions vehicle quota for 2030 that could be tradeable. This would provide electricity and automotive investors with greater certainty about opportunities in the future.

    T&E’s clean vehicles and e-mobility officer Julia Hildermeier said: ‘The electricity providers have realised that electric transport can be a big customer for them, but they have yet to fully wake up to how they can make this happen by pushing for stricter carbon standards for vehicles.

    ‘This report by RAP sets out clearly that everyone has a lot to gain from mandatory CO2 standards for 2025, and in particular a flexible mandate to stimulate the supply of electric vehicles. This is a win-win situation for the electricity sector and the vehicles sector that earns investment security for the emerging electric vehicles market, and for European citizens as EVs reduce air pollution.’

    T&E has for many years advocated stricter emissions standards as an incentive for industries to develop cleaner technology. Hildermeier added: ‘Europe currently offers the wrong incentives on electric vehicles, such as the “supercredits” that carmakers use to offset emissions from heavy and polluting cars and therefore overrates sales of electric vehicles. A more appropriate mechanism to stimulate EV supply in Europe is needed.’