World Bioenergy Association criticises European Commission’s revised Renewable Energy Directive

The World Bioenergy Association (WBA) has criticised the European Commission’s revised Renewable Energy Directive.

The document was published on 30 November, 2016.

In a statement, the WBA said: “The package contains many well designed proposals but fails to comply with the challenges set by the Paris Agreement. A reduction of the CO2 emissions by 40% by 2030 as compared to 1990 is by far not enough to achieve the 2°C target.

“The title is misleading. Obviously, clean energy comprises nuclear, fossil and renewable energy technologies, although the agreement of Paris requires that developed countries leave fossil fuels before 2050. This package will not accelerate but slow down the transition to renewable energies.”

The WBA also raised the following points:

1. Targets not sufficient.
The package “Clean Energy for All Europeans” is not in line with the targets of the Paris Agreement. Europe needs new targets for its energy and climate policy adopted to Paris Agreement such as 60% emission reduction by 2030 as compared to 1990 and at least a share of 40% renewables.

2. Heat market: a better efficiency for fossil fuel burners is just not enough! Avoid incentives locking private capital in fossil structures!
The package sets on improving the energy efficiency in buildings and the energy performance of products, partly financed by EU funds. The focus is on efficiency independent on the energy source. This is a strategic error. Therefore, WBA proposes the better efficiency of buildings in combination with a clear priority of renewable heating systems based on pellets and other biomass combustion, solar thermal heat, waste incineration, in combination with heat grids and waste heat from industry.

3. Heat market: Low prices of fossil fuels hinder investment in better efficiency of buildings and fuel switch to renewables. The need for a carbon tax
Low prices of oil and gas increase the demand and make investment in efficiency and renewable fuels not attractive. WBA supports strongly a tax shift from labour taxes to a higher CO2 taxation and encourages member states to go ahead in this direction.

4. Electricity market – priority for renewable is essential
Electricity as energy carrier will play a growing role in the future, electricity for light, power, information technology, heat pumps, mobility etc. The fast growth of renewable electricity from wind, PV, biomass/biogas and hydro is essential. The transition of the electricity system requires a priority for renewable electricity in the grid.

5. Transport sector: Conventional biofuels combined with protein production are indispensable!
The strong reduction of CO2 emissions in the transport sector before 2030 is a key challenge to comply with the climate targets. The winter package has no convincing strategy to reach this reduction. Electric mobility based on a fossil dominated electricity generation will only contribute a marginal amount to CO2 reduction by 2030. The unrealistic and too strong reliance on advanced biofuels will also limit the CO2 reduction in transport. Conventional biofuels are readily available and offer the chance to reduce CO2 emissions further by 2030.

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