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European Commission unveils revisited Renewable Energy Directive minus biofuel minimum requirements in transport sector

In an attempt to set aside a protracted controversy surrounding the environmental damage caused by biofuels, the European Commission came under heavy criticism after proposing to phase-out conventional biofuels by 2030. The Executive presented its draft proposal to review the Renewable Energy Directive for the post-2020 period as part of a Clean Energy Package.  The European Commission has alluded to the fact that its revised Renewable Energy Directive will scrap reference to “at least 10%” renewable energy in the transport sector. The revised Renewable Energy Directive is seeking boost energy sources including wind and solar across the EU. The current directive, which came into force in 2008 required Member States to have “at least 10%” renewable energy used in transport by 2020 – including biofuels and other green energy sources.

Such targets have attracted criticism in a number of Member States where such a 10% target would require a doubling of the present biofuel supply.  The EU executive proposed to reduce the contribution of conventional biofuels in transport from a maximum of 7%  in 2021 to 3.8% in 2030. It also set an obligation to raise the share of other ‘low emissions fuels’ such as renewable electricity and advanced biofuels in transport to 6.8%.Sparking a heated debate senior officials from DG ENER at the European Commission have suggested that policy should take account of ‘public perceptions when deciding on policy, even when they are wrong and not just scientific reports. Public concerns regarding conventional biofuels is often a purely emotive reaction to “food versus fuel”. The proposals, that mix biofuels and biodiesel have attracted angry reactions in Brussels from the industry representatives who claim that this revision amounts to a “friendly to oil”

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Issue 52