National plans for Energy and Climate must match EU ambitions and targets

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Brussels, 12 June 2019

Governments can craft appropriate frameworks under Effort Sharing Regulations – the National plans for Climate and Energy to be approved by the European Commission should match the overall EU ambition – agricultural sources of energy (biofuels and biogas) are existing and cost effective solutions that can go along with sustainable electricity alternative in order to reduce EU dependency to carbon intensive energies. 

The ten years to 2030 will be crucial in the global fight against climate change. Based on this scientific consensus, the European Union set ambitious targets. In the coming months, the European Commission will assess the National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) submitted by the Member States. It will be of an utmost importance to make sure that those plans deliver on the pan-EU ambition and define a policy path able to transform global commitment into practice.

During Farm Europe’s Green Energy Platform Workshop today, presentations have shown that not only solutions exist in the short term but those solutions can be effective at an affordable price. The right mix should include not only sustainable electricity, but also the capacity of EU-sourced biomass to deliver low carbon energy via biofuels and biogas.

“Realistic and affordable solutions are urgently needed to reach the EU’s 30% savings target.  NECP policies that combine electric driving and sustainable biofuels are the most effective pathway to high impact carbon savings for Member States,” Carlo Hamelinck, Associate Director of Navigant, the international sustainable energy consultancy said, presenting a report assessing the most effective strategies to be implemented by the Member States.

Success in National plans means mobilizing many solutions with all options needed in combination, in particular in the transport sector, which is one of the most challenging sectors to achieve carbon savings. According to the Navigant research report* biofuels provide an immediate solution to decarbonising energy by directly displacing fossil fuels in existing combustion fleets. They reduce liquid fuel emissions by 65/70% and account for 5% of energy in EU transport today.

Governments can devise appropriate frameworks under the Effort Sharing Regulations. Support policies with strict sustainability requirements can drive biofuels’ carbon performance and stimulate increased volumes of alternative fuels. Biomass potential is today underutilised. Agriculture can deliver the volumes required sustainably, with additional socio-economic benefits for Member States.

Biofuels have the lowest carbon abatement cost of alternative fuels, and electric driving the highest, in the Navigant study region. Measured in cost per tonne of CO2 equivalent today, electric driving costs exceed €700, and conventional biofuels €200. Electric costs will decrease, but biofuel cost will fall even faster.  By 2030 the abatement cost is expected to fall below €200 for electric, and to around €20 for conventional biofuels. The difference arises because electric driving is more expensive per KM driven and the average carbon intensity of grid electricity in the EU is considerable.


*The Workshop was organised by the Green Energy Platform to mark to publication of the final Navigant research report “2030 Transport Decarbonisation Options” commissioned by Farm Europe (Ecofys2019_Transport decarbonisation 2030 CEE). The research was conducted across nine EU member states in the CEE region.  Farm Europe is a Brussels based multicultural think tank that aims to stimulate thinking on rural economies.