EU Targets Renewables over Biofuels

EU ministers have admitted being ‘grossly confused’ over renewable energy targets. There has been widespread belief amongst European ministers that the EU renewable energy target stipulates all fuels must contain 10% biofuels by 2020.

However, it has recently come to light that the original policy documents have been woefully misunderstood by ministers.

At a recent meeting, the French energy and environment minister Jean-Louis Borloo pointed out that: “The member states realised that the commission’s plan specifies that 10 percent of transport needs must come from renewable energy, not 10 percent from biofuels.”

There has been widespread condemnation of the European policy position on biofuels from heavyweight non-government organisations (NGOs) such as the RSPB and the WWF. At this stage however, there may be a new opportunity for NGOs to influence EU renewable energy policy direction. Mr Borloo now believes that the policy could be interpreted to infer that renewable energy could come from fuel cell technology and electricity from renewable sources, rather than biofuels or other unsustainable sources.

Despite the political distancing from biofuel policy after the recent hiatus, there has been no official EU policy change towards biofuels. The Green MEP Claude Turmes has proposed a bilateral agreement with Brazil to import biofuels from sugarcane stocks – the only biofuel source he considers sustainable.

The BES invites members and readers of the blog to contribute to the Biofuels debate: does the EU renewables policy need a better focus? Might it be sensible to distinguish between ecologically unsound biofuels and more sustainable biofuels? Should the EU place stronger emphasis on energy efficiency in transport, housing and business?

The BES strongly welcome your views!