Brussels, Belgium – A new report approved by the European Parliament stipulates that by 2015, at least five per cent of all road transport fuels should come from renewable sources. In amending the draft directive on renewable energies, the committee also tightened up sustainability criteria for biofuels, and introduced flexibility mechanisms to allow Member States to achieve the 2020 renewables targets jointly.
The five per cent target is an intermediate one, and by 2020, Member States would be required to ensure that renewables account for at least 10 per cent of final energy consumption in road transport. Achieving these targets would contribute to the European Union’s overall goal of ensuring that by 2020, renewables will account for at least 20 per cent of total energy consumption. The report also covers the electricity and heating and cooler sectors, which must contribute towards the overall goal as well.
Of the transport total, four of the five per cent could consist of traditional “first-generation” biofuels, but at least one per cent should come from new alternatives that do not compete with food production, the committee said. These alternatives could include electricity and hydrogen produced from renewable sources, as well as “second-generation” biofuels such as those made from waste, ligno-cellulosic biomass or algae.
The committee also backed the 10 per cent target for 2020, but stipulated that at least 40 per cent of this target, or four per cent of all transport fuels, would have to come from second-generation biofuels, electricity or hydrogen. This share and the 10 per cent 2020 target would be reviewed by 2014, with the review focusing on consequences for food security, biodiversity and the availability of electricity, hydrogen and transport fuels from renewable sources.
Furthermore, by 2020, energy efficiency in transport must improve by at least 20 per cent when compared to 2005; and to count towards the transport fuel targets, biofuels must save at least 45 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions when compared to fossil fuels, and from 2015, must save at least 60 per cent.