BRUSSELS (Thomson Financial) - EU energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs
said it is 'essential' that the EU's 10 pct minimum target for biofuel
market share by 2020 is met in a 'sustainable way'.
Speaking at the International Conference on Biofuels here, the
commissioner recognised that there has been much debate, controversy
and questions over the use of biofuels.
'Biofuels should be produced in a sustainable way, but we cannot
expect this to happen automatically,' he told delegates.
He said some inefficient production techniques exist, adding that a
certain proportion of biofuels will have to be produced from
newly-bought land where there is more risk of increased greenhouse gas
emissions from carbon stored in soil and plants.
The European Commission is looking at these potential drawbacks and is
working on translating its ideas into solid legislation.
'A single legal document should be ready by the end of this year,
after which it will be up to the European Council and Parliament to
take a final decision,' Piebalgs said.
The document will contain a sustainability scheme, though the
commissioner admitted that the details of this scheme are still being
'We need minimum sustainability standards for biofuels. Only those
bio-fuels which meet these standards will be eligible for support
(measures) such as tax exemption,' he added.
The commissioner stressed the need to work at an international level
on the issue.
'We expect and hope to see an increase in the global trade of
bio-fuels. The EU could fulfil its 10 pct target by 2020 through
domestically produced bio-fuels (...) but this approach is not
desirable,' he said.
Piebalgs said the commission was aiming for a 'balanced approach',
where both domestic and imported biofuels would contribute to the EU's
In March, the EU adopted an energy policy which set a 10 pct minimum
target for all member states for the share of biofuels in overall EU
petrol and diesel consumption for transport by 2020.
The EU said the 10 pct target is binding but subject to biofuels being
available in sufficient quantities for commercial use, and to the
necessary legal changes being made.
Piebalgs said today that biofuels will 'realistically' account for 4.5
pct of energy use by 2010.