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European Parliament sets the stage for a battle over biofuels – ePURE

Nearly everybody agrees the European Commission’s Renewable Energy Directive II proposal – which has low ambitions for renewables in transport and would phase out good and bad crop-based biofuels alike needs to work. According to the European Renewable Ethanol Association (ePURE), the report adopted by the European Parliament’s Committee for Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) sets the stage for a real clash with the EU Member States over how to decarbonise transport.

Emmanuel Desplechin has been appointed new Secretary General of ePURE replacing Robert Wright (photo courtesy ePURE).

Emmanuel Desplechin Secretary General of ePURE, sees that the report adopted by ITRE sets the stage for a real clash with the EU Member States over how to decarbonise transport (photo courtesy ePURE).

According to ePURE, the “cryptic statement” made by the lead Committee does not offer enough of an upgrade and ITRE’s vote falls short of what is needed to fix the Commission’s RED II proposal.

Whilst ePURE sees the push by MEPs to reinstate 2030 renewables in transport target increased at 12 percent, together with the endorsement of an advanced biofuels sub-target, as a step in the right direction, they would not allow Member States to use all sustainable renewable fuels like European ethanol in their energy mix.

As part of a complex architecture setting another 10 percent obligation for fuel suppliers to blend in low-emission fuels, MEPs voted to prevent Member States from using crop-based ethanol – which, according to ePURE, delivers 66 percent average greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction compared to fossil petrol. In doing so they reduced its contribution even further than what the Commission initially proposed, putting into question the achievability of the objectives without artificial multipliers.

It will now be up to the Plenary of the European Parliament and Member States to fix this. In their plenary vote in January, MEPs need to move the Parliament’s position closer to what Council has spelt out coherently in its proposed position. Instead of throwing out existing solutions that work, build on them by leaving in place the 7 percent cap on crop-based biofuels and promoting advanced biofuels as part of overall renewables in transport target. It is only by embracing all of these sustainable solutions, and by combining low-carbon fuels like ethanol with renewable electricity, that the EU will have any chance of meeting its climate goals for transport, said Emmanuel Desplechin, Secretary General of ePURE.

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