Speak Up Energy

The EU’s biofuel targets should be scrapped and the renewables trading mechanism as proposed by the Commission should be redesigned to avoid fraud and legal complications, says Green MEP Claude Turmes, who spoke in an interview.

Tackling trading

Turmes, who is the Parliament’s rapporteur on the Commission’s proposal, says the EU executive’s proposed framework for renewable energy trading is “badly done” and will lead to legal battles and investor insecurity. His criticism was mirrored recently by EU energy traders, who say the Commission’s plans run counter to fundamental principles of EU law, particuarly with respect to trade in the internal market.The problem may have been a result of last-minute compromises made under significant political pressure. During the run-up to the release of the climate and energy package on 23 January, the Commission’s services were divided on how to construct a regime for trading renewable energy certificates between member states and EU companies, according to Turmes. “There was a big ideological fight within the Commission between those who wanted to destroy the national support schemes and move in one big bang to a European certificate model,” he said.”This ideological battle was only settled at the very last moment, one week before the proposal came out, and then the proposal was put together in a hurry,” he added.To correct the situation, the MEP wants to introduce amendments to the directive that would create so-called voluntary transfer accounting certificates (TACs), coupled with further flexibility mechanisms for governments.Turmes’ draft report and amendments, outlined in an explanatory memorandum were sent to fellow MEPs on 8 May. Parliament’s Industry (ITRE) Committee will vote on the file on 16 July, with a plenary vote expected in September.

Bye bye biofuels?

“I propose in my report to drop the 10% target,” Turmes said in reference to the Commission’s proposal to mandate a 10% use of biofuels in transport by 2020. Instead of the mandatory target, Turmes wants to create a distinction between acceptable and unacceptable uses of bio-energy and is pushing for a greater focus on the use of biomass in district heating facilities, particularly in the context of greater decentralised power generation.”I am working closely with MEP Anders Wijkman, who will do the opinion in the Environment Committee. We will focus on what are called ‘Go’ categories, meaning we will define categories for biomass use. For example using organic waste from household and industry, using residues from the wood and paper industry as well as agriculture,” he said.

The MEP also wants to increase the sustainability criteria for biofuels with respect to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to “something around 60%”. The Commission has proposed a minimum of 35% GHG savings.

From EurActiv

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