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European Commission proposes Clean Energy package

30 November 2016

The European Commission today presented a “Clean Energy for All Europeans” regulatory package designed to reduce EU’s CO2 emissions by at least 40% by 2030, while “modernising the EU’s economy and delivering on jobs and growth”. The legislative proposals affect a number of sectors of the EU economy, including energy efficiency, renewable energy, the design of the electricity market, security of electricity supply and governance rules for the Energy Union. The Commission also proposed a new way forward for Ecodesign as well as a strategy for connected and automated mobility.

Under the proposed amendments to the Renewable Energy Directive (RED), the EU would continue to support the use of land-based biofuels made from food and feed crops—as reported last week based on leaked regulatory documents. While the maximum amount of biofuels would be gradually reduced, member states could still count a 3.8% share of food-based biofuels towards their renewable energy targets for 2030.

Under current legislation, the use of biofuels in transportation fuels is capped at 7% until 2020. In 2014, the actual use of land-based biofuels amounted to 4.9% of the overall transportation fuels volume in the EU.

The proposal marks a reversal from the Commission’s 2030 climate and energy policy, which declared that first-generation biofuels should not be supported after 2020 due to ILUC (indirect land use change) emissions. When ILUC emissions are factored-in, biofuels made from many types of vegetable oils produce higher life-cycle GHG emissions than petroleum fuels.

Palm oil—with GHG emissions equivalent to 303% of the emissions of petroleum diesel—is one of the main feedstocks used for biofuel production. According to the T&E Group, biofuels are responsible for 46% of all palm oil consumption in the European Union.

Source: European Commission