Ireland Increases Crop-Based Biofuel Transport Share, Provides ‘Business Certainty’
by Sarantis Michalopoulos (EurActiv) Ireland’s environment ministry has decided to increase the crop-based biofuel share in transport to 10% from the existing 8% and draw a 2030 plan aiming to provide long-term business certainty in the field.
Irish Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten published a draft order, according to which the biofuel obligation rate to 10% (by volume) will be increased from 1 January 2019.
The minister also proposed a long-term plan for the Biofuels Obligation Scheme, which was set up in 2010.
The scheme sets out an obligation for suppliers of road transport fuels to include a certain percentage of environmentally sustainable biofuels across their general fuel mix.
The “biofuel obligation rate” was initially set at 4% and has gradually increased to the current rate of 8% (by volume).
The ministry’s proposals were warmly welcomed as “rational” by Irish farmers, because crop-based biofuels “have up to 70% less GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions than fossil fuels, reduce dependence on imports from outside the EU and provide a much-needed boost to EU arable farmers”.
However, they warned that the government should now take action at EU level and prevent the European Commission from gradually phasing-out first-generation biofuels.
Kent also raised the issue of protein feeds as co-products of biofuel production and stressed that the Commission’s plans for an EU protein strategy are not in line with its intention to phase-out first-generation biofuels.
In February, the executive presented the idea of an EU protein strategy to decrease the growing dependence on imports. The EU demand amounts to around 45 million tonnes of crude protein per year, of which one third is met by soya.
Soya is the particular challenge when trying to address the EU protein deficit, as the EU self-sufficiency in soya is only 5%.
“Over-dependence on imported GM soya is a major weakness in EU livestock systems and it is a particular threat to the Irish dairy sector,” Kent warned.
Similar concerns were also voiced by Croatian MEP Marijana Petir (European People’s Party), who said this should be a powerful argument against phasing out first-generation biofuels. READ MORE