London — Biofuels industry participants welcomed finally achieving some clarityfor the post-2020 Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) framework, althoughcompromises had to be made, as the trilogue negotiations were concluded in theearly hours of Thursday morning.
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The European Parliament, Council and Commission agreed on one of the mostcontroversial topics by freezing palm oil use at current levels and phasingout palm oil in transport by 2030.
The deal included an EU-wide target of 32% for renewable energy by 2030,with an upwards revision clause by 2023. There will also be a 14% target forrenewable energy in transport, but capping crop-based biofuels at memberstates' 2020 levels, with a maximum of 7%. There was also an agreement on theobligation for advanced biofuels with minimum targets set at 0.2% in 2022, 1%in 2025 and 3.5% in 2030.
The final stage is for the agreement to be approved by the EuropeanParliament and the European Council, which could take a few months. Member states will also have the option to decide on the level of use ofwaste feedstocks such as used cooking oil and animal fats.
Most biofuel trade associations see the agreement as a step in the rightdirection and an improvement on the original Commission proposal. However,ePure, the European association for renewable ethanol, said that "cappingcrop-based biofuels at 2020 levels also unfairly penalizes sustainablebiofuels like European renewable ethanol."
Industry participants have given a mixed response to the news, with someremaining cautious regarding the final approved version and implementation ofRED II. "Personally I think the important thing is how the member statesinterpret/adopt it -- which of course remains to be seen," one source said.
Others thought the 2030 palm oil phase-out was too long a time horizon."Palm should be gone now not 2030," another source said.
The waste classification under Annex 9 of the original proposal had beena contentious issue, so many in the industry applauded the absence ofrestrictions for used cooking oil (UCO) and tallow.
"The inclusion of double counting to incentivize production ofwaste-based biodiesel from used cooking oil and animal fats constitutes asolid policy incentive and a clear signal for investors," said Ewaba, theEuropean association for waste-based biodiesel producers.
And a biodiesel trader said, "It's positive for UCO and wastes -- [andthe] cap on UCO is essentially removed."
--Chrysa Glystra, firstname.lastname@example.org
--Edited by Maurice Geller, email@example.com