12 September 2008

European Parliament’s Industry Committee has adopted a co-decision report in support of the European Commission proposed renewable energy directive—which introduced a 10% target for renewable fuels in road transport by 2020—but added targets for second generation biofuels and more strict sustainability criteria.

Members of Parliament (MEPs) requested that at least 40% of the 10% renewable fuel target by 2020 (i.e., 4% of all transport fuels) should be second generation biofuels, hydrogen, or electricity. Second generation biofuels—those that do not compete with food production—could be made from waste or algae, for example.

A number of other provisions were adopted, including:

  • An interim target should be set of 5% by 2015 for renewables in road transport fuel, 20% of which (or 1% of all transport fuels) must be second generation biofuels.
  • The 10% renewable target and the second generation biofuels share should 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”.
  • To count towards the transport fuel targets, biofuels must save at least 45% of greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil fuels (the Commission had proposed a saving of 35%). From 2015 onwards, the greenhouse gas emission saving must be at least 60%.
  • By 2020, energy efficiency in transport must improve by at least 20% compared to 2005.

The MEPs also introduced flexibility mechanisms into the draft directive making it possible for Member States to achieve their renewables targets jointly. Another new provision calls on the Commission to impose direct penalties on Member States which fall short of the mandatory interim and 2020 targets.

Achieving these transportation sector targets would contribute to the EU’s overall goal of ensuring that by 2020, renewables account for at least 20% of its total energy consumption (including the electricity and heating and cooling sectors).

A plenary Parliament vote on the renewable energy directive is scheduled for October.

Source: European Parliament