EP supports renewable's use in road transport

The decision adopted by the Industry Committee of the European Parliament on a vote held September 11th, 2008, would contribute to the EU's overall goal of ensuring that by 2020, renewables account for at least 20% of its total energy consumption.

The Industry Committee of the European Parliament not only supported the Commission proposal that by 2020 at least 10% of the energy used in road transport should be from renewables, but also decided to insist that at least 40% of that renewable energy would be from more sustainable sources than traditional biofuel. This share would include hydrogen, electricity and "second-generation" biofuels, made from waste or algae, for example.

MEPs in the committee also decided to set an interim target of 5% by 2015 for renewables in road transport fuel. They maintained the Commission's 2020 target for Member States to ensure that renewables account for at least 10% of final energy consumption in road transport.
Four of the 5% road transport total could consist of traditional, "first-generation" biofuels, but at least 1% should come from new alternatives that do not compete with food production, says the committee. These alternatives could include electricity and hydrogen produced from renewable sources as well as "second-generation" biofuels, i.e. those made from waste, ligno-cellulosic biomass, or algae produced in vats.

Furthermore, by 2020, energy efficiency in transport must improve by at least 20% compared to 2005, says another provision adopted by the Industry Committee.
This review should "focus on consequences for food security, biodiversity and the availability of electricity or hydrogen from renewable sources, biogas or transport fuels from ligno-cellulosic biomass and algae", says the text as amended by the committee.
A modification of the 2020 targets for transport should, however, not affect the EU's overall target of a 20% share of renewables in total energy consumption by 2020. The European Commission put forward on July 2008, a package of new "Greening Transport" initiatives to steer transport towards sustainability, considering mobility as a key to EU's quality of life and vital for its competitiveness.

"Biomass for energy" sustainability criteria were also tightened up: to count towards the transport fuel targets, biofuels must save at least 45% of greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil fuels - the Commission had proposed a saving of 35%. From 2015 onwards, the greenhouse gas emission saving must be at least 60%.

Member States implication to achieve renewables targets

The new directive will require Member States to adopt national renewable energy action plans setting out their national targets for the shares of renewables in transport, electricity, heating and cooling, but Industry Committee MEPs also introduced flexibility mechanisms into the draft directive making it possible for Member States to achieve their renewables targets jointly.
For example, it would be possible for Member States to run joint projects using renewables, or to transfer renewable energy  "statistically " to each other.  Member States may also combine their targets and establish joint support schemes to achieve them.
The directive as amended also requires Member States to take all the necessary steps to develop transmission and distribution grid infrastructure, intelligent networks, storage facilities and electricity systems that can be operated safely while accommodating renewable energies.

The plenary vote in this procedure about sustainable energy in transport will take place October 1st.