The growth of biofuel consumption for use in transport in the european union (eu-28) has dwindled in the past few years and finally dropped
by about 1 million toe (6.8%) between 2012 and 2013 according to eurob- serv’er, to a consumption level of 13.6 million toe. Nevertheless, sustai- nable biofuel consumption, certified and thus eligible for inclusion in euro- pean targets increased slightly by 1.1% to 11.8 mtoe.
European Union biofuel consump- tion for transport also suffered a downturn in 2013 put at 6.8% year-on-year by EurObserv’ER, which equates to a fall from 14.6 to 13.6 Mtoe).
If we look at historical data published by Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics office, the fall marks the first drop in consumption since the industrial expansion of bio- fuel sought by the European Union, which started with the implementation of the biofuel direc- tive 2003/30/EC adopted on 8 May 2003 … the first to set quantified tar- gets for biofuel consumption, namely 2% in 2005 and 5.75% in 2010. It was followed six years later by the adop- tion on 23 April 2009 of the 2009/28/ EC Directive on the promotion of renewable energies, which rescin- ded its predecessor and imposed a binding renewable energy target of 10% in transport by 2020 instead.
Its target also differs slightly from the previous one in that it also fac- tors in the production of renewable electricity used by electric vehicles (cars, trains, trams and underground trains). Nonetheless, most of the target will be covered by the use of biofuel, be it first-, second- or third- generation (see box). At the same time, a change to the fuel quality directive set transport a binding greenhouse gas intensity reduction target of 6% by the 2020 timeline.
The ILUC dIreCTIve Is sTILL pendIng
When these two directives were adopted, the European Parliament and Council asked the European Commission to exa- mine the potential impact on greenhouse gas emissions arising from increasing land use for producing first-generation biofuel, also called the ILUC effect (Indi- rect Land Use Change impacts of bio- fuels), and if necessary present a legisla- tive proposal. The European Commission acquiesced by taking into account in its draft directive of 17 October 2012 the ILUC effect in the calculation of green- house gas emissions. In this first project, the Commission had proposed to limit to a maximum of 5% the share of first generation biofuels in the incorporation targets. The proposal that was submitted to the European Parliament aroused the anger of the biofuel players, who had already invested to meet the demands of the renewable energies directive. Since then, the sector has continued to chal- lenge the Commission’s model for calcu- lating the ILUC effect.
It took the European Parliament almost a year to state its intentions and on 11 September 2013 it placed a 6% cap on first-generation biofuel and a 2.5% incor- poration threshold of advanced biofuel