Member states will be allowed to lower their renewable targets if they cap crop-based biofuels below 7%.
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM – An agreement by E.U. energy ministers to roll back the use of renewable energy in fuels is a move in the wrong direction, said ePURE, the European renewable ethanol association.

The European Council on Dec. 18 adopted a directive promoting the use of renewable energy across the E.U. In the transportation sector, it set a target of 14% for each member state for 2030 and a sub-target of 3% for advanced biofuels.

It maintained the cap of 7% on first-generation biofuels to provide certainty to investors. If a member state sets a lower cap, it will have the option of lowering its overall target for renewables in transportation.

“Coupled with the use of artificial multipliers for other renewable energy sources, this would have a double-barreled effect leaving more room in the E.U.’s post-2020 transport energy mix for fossil fuel and of harming development of sustainable domestically produced biofuels like renewable ethanol,” ePURE said.

Emmanuel Desplechin secretary general for ePURE
Emmanuel Desplechin, secretary general, ePURE.

The E.U. needs to have a clear path forward for its biofuels policy after years of uncertainty, said Emmanuel Desplechin, secretary general, ePURE.

“Only a stable policy framework can restore investors’ confidence and allow existing biofuels operations to run,” he said. “As it stands now, the European Commission, Parliament and Council are all sending mixed messages, with fossil fuels as the only clear winner.”