Introduction « I should like to draw your attention to a recent proposal of the European Commission to favour the use of biofuels. (…) The aim is to give by fiscal means a kickstart to the development of a viable biofuel industry in the Community. This initiative to establish a significant renewable energy source in […]
The Green Energy Platform (GEP) welcomes the level of ambition and the fact that renewable energy from EU agriculture (i.e. biofuels & biomethane) is recognised as an essential lever for achieving the objectives of the draft « Fit for 55 » package, in particular for transport, which is the most challenging sector to decarbonise.
However, it should be underlined that without an adequately increased contribution from sustainable bioenergy the proposed targets are simply impossible to meet. The proposed changes by the European Commission represent a major restructuring not only for the stakeholders concerned, but also for all EU citizens, as the changes will have a significant impact on everybody’s life and how they manage economically, no matter their status or whereabouts. Therefore, the cost of the transition should be a primary concern for EU decision-makers – as should the capacity of EU agriculture to strengthen EU’s independency in both food and energy. Potential redistribution via social funds are most welcome, but should not prevent EU institutions from making cost-effective energy choices for a fair transition that works for all.
The co-legislators should now build on the initial proposals tabled by the European Commission, strengthening further the contribution of renewables from EU agriculture, which are sustainable, affordable and free from deforestation effects. Renewables from EU agriculture are good for farmers, for society as a whole and for Europe’s sovereignty.
In order to bring the transition from concept stage to concrete viability this decade, with tangible GHG emission reductions on the ground, the Green Energy Platform recommends that :
– The market distorting multipliers, which have now been mostly cleansed from the text, should stay out of the proposals, while standards for assuring fraud prevention should be greatly strengthened further.
– Solutions that are already available, turning ambitions into climate action success by abating carbon today, must be further promoted by lifting unnecessary discriminations between Member States regarding their shares of biofuels consumed in transport.
– A Well-To-Wheel approach should be adopted instead of the outdated Tank-to-Wheel methodology, to be able to effectively take into account the impact of the full chain on GHG emissions.
– As the ultimate objective is the reduction of GHG emissions with the promotion and facilitation of the uptake of renewable energy, the revision of fuel standards is also critical. The current limit on the blend wall for bioethanol and biodiesel should be modified upwards, given that it represents one of the most simple and cost effective options for further reducing GHG emissions.
Furthermore, it should be remembered that European sourced biofuels and biomethane bring multiple added benefits beyond decarbonisation, such as boosting Europe’s food security by co-producing valuable by-products, and supporting farming communities via income stabilisation opportunities which are essential for the agricultural transition.
Now is the time to move forward with a finally solid framework for bioenergy, that unleashes its true potential, provides sustainability peace-of-mind, enables necessary changes, and not only represent attractive policy objectives, but realistically takes into consideration the real costs and GHG savings profiles of Europe’s decarbonisation strategies.