EC urges Portugal to comply with biofuel requirements

By Erin Voegele | May 09, 2016

The European Commission has published a memo urging Portugal to comply with biofuel requirements under the Renewable Energy Directive.

According to the memo, the EC recently sent Portugal a reasoned opinion urging the member state to ensure full compliance of its biofuel legislation with the RED. The RED sets a goal of 20 percent renewable energy in the European Union by 2020, with individual national targets for each member state. Regarding transportation fuels, 10 percent of total energy consumption is to come from renewables. Biofuels used to meet the RED goals must meet certain sustainability requirements, and member states are obligated to treat sustainable biofuels and the feedstocks they are made from equally, regardless of their country of origin.

According to the EC’s memo, Portuguese legislation on biofuels contradicts the RED in two ways. First, it favors biofuels produced domestically. Second, it imposes stricter sustainability requirements on some biofuels.

The EC said Portugal has two months to address its concerns. Otherwise the commission may refer the member state to the Court of Justice of the EU.

A report filed with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service’s Global Agricultural Information Network in mid-2015 indicates that Portugal currently has no fuel ethanol production capacity. As of 2015, the country had eight biodiesel plants with a combined 653,000 metric tons of production capacity. At the time the report was published, the country had increased its biofuel target from 5.5 percent to 7.5 percent, in terms of energy, and introduced a 2.5 percent ethanol-specific target.

A full copy of the memo can be downloaded from the European Commission website.