Parliament Votes to Approve EU Biofuels Cap, Provides Closure
by Ron Kotrba (Ethanol Producer Magazine) The European Parliament voted April 28 to approve the cap on first-generation biofuels and provide a degree of closure to the long-debated measure.
The new law caps first-generation biofuels from crops grown on agricultural land at 7 percent of energy consumption in transportation by 2020, requires fuel suppliers to report to EU countries and the EU Commission the estimated level of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by indirect land use change (ILUC), requires the commission to report and publish data on ILUC-related emissions, and obligates the commission to report back to the parliament and ministerial council on the scope for including ILUC emission figures in the existing sustainability criteria.
ePURE, the European ethanol industry association, welcomed closure of the ILUC file in order to restore regulatory and market certainty, but called the absence of binding targets for advanced biofuels and ethanol a missed opportunity to amend the biofuels legislation in an ambitious and meaningful manner.
On behalf of the entire EU biodiesel chain, EBB (European Biodiesel Board) Secretary General Raffaello Garofalo said, “Our industries stand ready to open a constructive dialogue with all stakeholders and will strive to continuously improve the sustainability of biodiesel in order to fully contribute to the decarbonization of fuels in the EU in the next decade.”
For advanced biofuels, or biofuels from certain types of wastes or residues, the new law says that EU member states will have to set a national target, no later than 18 months after the EU directive enters into force, for the share in total transportation consumption.
The association known as the Leaders of Sustainable Biofuels, which represents the advanced biofuels industry in the EU, welcomed the conclusion of the ILUC file and its acknowledgement of the benefits of advanced biofuels, but it stated that the compromise endorsed by parliament “lacks concrete and harmonized measures.”
“Our industry has been calling for regulatory certainty for years,” said Marko Janhunen, chair of the LSB. “What has been agreed now is a first step but uncertainty continues. An opportunity to kick-start the roll-out of advanced biofuels in the EU has been missed. Our industry provides solutions to EU’s climate, energy, environmental and industrial policy. All of these subjects are at the core of EU policy today. We hope that Member States will show leadership and implement the subtarget in their national policy creating the certainty needed for the new and emerging advanced biofuels industry.”