Euro Parliament Maintains Target of 10% Renewables in Road Transport Fuel by 2020; 40% of That From Non-Food Biofuels, Electricity or H2
The European Parliament’s Industry Committee has approved a co-decision report that maintains a 10% renewables component in transportation fuels by 2020, but specifies that at least 40% of this overall share must be met by non-food second-generation biofuels, electricity or hydrogen.
The decision came in the context of growing pressure to reduce the biofuels obligation given concerns of rising food prices and sustainability.
Members of Parliament (MEPs) want the overall 10% target and the 40% advanced biofuels share for 2020 to be reviewed by 2014. This review should “focus on consequences for food security, biodiversity and the availability of electricity or hydrogen from renewable sources, biogas or transport fuels from ligno-cellulosic biomass and algae”, says the text as amended by the committee.
To count towards the transport fuel targets, biofuels must save at least 45% of greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil fuels—the Commission had earlier proposed a saving of 35%. From 2015 onwards, the greenhouse gas emission saving must be at least 60%.
The committee also inserted social sustainability criteria, including respect for the land rights of local communities or the fair remuneration of all workers.
The committee established an interim 5% renewables target by 2015. Four of the 5% total can consist of traditional first-generation biofuels, but at least 1% should come from second-generation biofuels, electricity or hydrogen.
A modification of the 2020 targets for transport should not affect the EU’s overall target of a 20% share of renewables in total energy consumption by 2020.
Furthermore, by 2020, energy efficiency in transport must improve by at least 20% compared to 2005, says another provision adopted by the Industry Committee.
The new directive will require Member States to adopt national renewable energy action plans setting out their national targets for the shares of renewables in transport, electricity, heating and cooling, but Industry Committee MEPs also introduced flexibility mechanisms into the draft directive making it possible for Member States to achieve their renewables targets jointly.
For example, it would be possible for Member States to run joint projects using renewables, or to transfer renewable energy “statistically” to each other. Member States may also combine their targets and establish joint support schemes to achieve them.
Another provision adopted by the Industry Committee calls on the Commission to impose direct penalties on Member States which fall short of the mandatory interim and 2020 targets.
The directive as amended also requires Member States to take all the necessary steps to develop transmission and distribution grid infrastructure, intelligent networks, storage facilities and electricity systems that can be operated safely while accommodating renewable energies.
A plenary vote on the directive is scheduled for October.