The European Parliament (EP)’s decision to maintain the role of crop-based biofuels in meeting the European Union (EU)’s transport renewable energy target, as part of its vote on the Renewable Energy Directive III (RED III), has been welcomed by the EU seed crushers and oil processors’ federation (FEDIOL).
However, the EP’s approach to high indirect land use change (ILUC)-risk feedstocks, which was not in line with the European Commission (EC)’s position, could lead to further instability on the EU energy market, the association said in a statement on 14 September.
“Following the vote on the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED III), FEDIOL is pleased that the European Parliament is aligned with the Commission and Council on maintaining the 7% cap on crop-based biofuels,” FEDIOL said.
“Crop-based biofuels are an immediate and cost-effective tool to reduce emissions in the transport sector and will help reduce the EU’s dependence on fossil fuel imports.”
Overall, maintaining crop-based biofuels would support the EU’s energy security as well as its higher target for the use of renewable energy by 2030, the association said.
“However, the European Parliament has taken a different approach to the Commission and Council on the measures regarding high ILUC-risk feedstocks,” FEDIOL added.
“While economic operators in the EU have been preparing for a phaseout of high ILUC-risk feedstocks by 2030 as well as low ILUC-risk certification, the European Parliament proposes to exclude them as of entry into force of the Directive.”
In addition, FEDIOL said the EP had changed part of the criteria adopted by the EC on the determination of high ILUC-risk feedstocks.
“Changing the criteria and shortening the transition time will be disruptive and damaging to industries with negative repercussions on the production of high protein feed,” the association said.
FEDIOL said an appropriate interim period should be maintained – in line with RED II – to allow industries to adapt to the new provisions, search for new raw material, and develop appropriate technologies.
“It should be reminded that all soyabean and palm oil currently contributing to the EU renewable energy targets comply with the strict sustainability requirements of RED II,” the association said.
Changing the criteria of the EC’s delegated act on high ILUC-risk feedstocks (i.e. lowering the threshold for the average annual expansion of the global production area in high carbon stocks to 7.9%) would also have a negative impact on soyabean oil production in the EU, including Austria, Belgium, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Spain, and Greece.
FEDIOL had called on the EC to retain its decision to maintain the EC’s approach on high ILUC-risk provisions to avoid further disruptions to the EU’s energy security and to EU industry.