17 January, Brussels - The European Parliament has voted on its first reading of the revised Renewable Energy Directive, choosing to limit the use of crop-based biofuels and boost second-generation biofuels. The draft legislation says that crop-based biofuels should not exceed 7% of road and rail fuel, the consumption level as of 2017.
The draft calls for a 12% target for renewable transport fuels and includes a 10% blending mandate for advanced biofuels, renewable transport fuels of non-biological origin, waste-based fossil fuels and renewable electricity. As well as limiting use of crop-based biofuels, Parliament has also called for a complete ban to the use of palm oil and its derivatives by 2021.
The revised Directive will set the post-2020 renewable energy framework, and the role of biofuels has been one of the most contentious issues with some arguing that maintaining 7% target puts existing investments at risk, whilst others have argued that crop-based biofuels the should be completely phased out.
The Commission had proposed that food or feed crop-based biofuels should be reduced from 7% to 3.8% by 2030, but this provision was removed by the Parliament. Member States, however, are free to choose lower targets and can also distinguish between different types of biofuels, bioliquids and biomass fuels, “taking into account indirect land use change and other unintended sustainability impacts”.
The European Parliament and Council will soon enter into Trialogue discussions to finalise the legislation, with the Council having reached its position last December.