ePure: Proposal to phase out conventional biofuels not scientific

By ePure | November 30, 2016

The European Renewable Ethanol Association (ePURE) regrets the European Commission’s intentions to phase out, or significantly reduce, the use of conventional biofuels in Europe, contained in the proposed Renewable Energy Directive for the period post-2020, published as part of the “Clean Energy Package” Nov. 30. The commission  proposed to reduce the maximum contribution of conventional biofuels, such as ethanol made from corn, wheat and sugar beets, to the EU 2030 renewable target from a maximum of 7 percent of transport fuels in 2021 to 3.8 percent in 2030. The commission also proposed a binding blending obligation of 6.8 percent to promote other “low emissions fuels”` such as renewable electricity and advanced biofuels used in transport.

The proposal conflicts with the proportionality principle and subsidiarity of the EU member states, as per the EU Treaty, in so far as it conflicts with the member states ability to determine their own renewable energy mixes. A reduction of the limit on conventional biofuels use to 3.8 percent undermines the existing 16 billion euros invested in European biofuel production facilities since 2003 as a result of the EU biofuels policy. The proposed phase-out of conventional biofuels means that the commission has now proposed four different changes to the targets for renewable energy use in EU transport since the adoption of its first biofuels policy in 2003. The proposal also backtracks on the compromise agreed by the EU institutions as part of the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive in 2015, which member states have only begun the process of implementing. This permanent policy flux is diametrically opposite to the commission’s Better Regulation Agenda and has created an impossible policy environment that significantly jeopardizes further investments in

both conventional and advanced biofuels in Europe.

 Significantly, the commission’s proposal does not deliver on the mandate given to the commission by the council and parliament to develop a post-2020 policy that will promote sustainable biofuels with high GHG savings

  “This political decision is not justified and ignores the commission’s own science which shows that ethanol is a low carbon fuel. It is purely a political decision that runs contrary to the commission’s better regulation agenda. The biofuel sector feels betrayed by the commission because of its complete disregard for the investments made in good faith on the basis of EU policy,” said Robert Wright, Secretary-General of ePURE. “The Commission is totally detached from reality if it expects that its proposal will result in significant investments in advanced biofuels, given that most of the potential investors have already been burned by the commission's previous biofuels u-turns. ePURE calls on member states and Parliament to seek the promotion of advanced biofuels in addition to conventional biofuel,” Wright said.