REA welcomes Ed Davey’s Representation of UK Biofuels Industry in Brussels

UK biofuels industry produces joint position paper on ILUC proposals

REA and EREC warn that shifting policy goalposts could prevent UK and EU realising economic benefits of 2020 renewable energy targets

Energy Secretary Ed Davey has told the European Energy Council that a ‘one size fits all’ approach to the issue of indirect land use change (ILUC) for biofuels is “not helpful” [1].

The proposals include an overall cap on the use of crop-based biofuels at 5% of transport, which would make the binding EU-wide 10% renewable transport target virtually impossible to achieve. The REA estimates that the proposals could cost the UK over £1 billion of investments and up to 3,500 jobs.

The UK is the first Member State to produce a unified industry position paper in response to the proposals [2]. Together, the REA, AIC, NFU and SCOPA represent the entire biofuels supply chain. The paper explains that the assumptions behind the ILUC proposals are based on a purely theoretical approach which does not account for the realities of biofuel development. It also urges the Commission to propose a dedicated target for 2% of transport to come from advanced biofuels by 2020, while allowing electric vehicles and conventional biofuels to make up the rest of the target.

REA Head of Renewable Transport Clare Wenner comments:

“We welcome Ed Davey’s useful intervention at the European Energy Council. ILUC is a serious issue, but the debate about the sustainability of biofuels and their effect on food prices is fuelled more by emotion than science. We need strong representation to ensure the Commission delivers a framework which encourages the reinvestment of revenues from the first generation market into the development of advanced biofuels.

“We are working hard at home and abroad to inform decision-makers of the problems with these proposals, which not only threaten our climate change and renewable energy objectives, but over £1 billion of investment, and thousands of green jobs.”

The ILUC proposals were a major item on the agenda this Tuesday, when REA Chief Executive Gaynor Hartnell and Head of Renewable Transport Clare Wenner explained to MEPs at the European Parliament in Brussels the particular challenges the UK faces in meeting its 2020 targets. The meeting was part of the ‘Keep on track!’ project, which seeks to assess Member States’ progress on their 2020 renewable energy targets [3].

The REA is the UK partner for the ‘Keep on track!’ project, which is coordinated at the European level by the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC). EREC warned this week that while the EU is presently ‘on track’ to meet the 2020 targets, recent and upcoming policy shifts will make it difficult for many member states, including the UK, to remain ‘on track’ over the next few years [4].

The UK has the most challenging target in Europe, starting from one of the lowest bases. The REA estimates that meeting the 2020 targets would create an industry comprising 400,000 green jobs with a turnover of £12.5 billion [5].

UK ‘Keep on track!’ project leader Mike Landy adds:

“Our renewable energy targets constitute a huge economic opportunity for the UK, with 400,000 green jobs up for grabs. However, there is a long way to go, and industry needs strong representation across heat, power and renewable transport if we are to achieve these challenging targets, and reap the economic and environmental benefits that they offer. We welcome Ed Davey’s contribution to the ILUC debate, and we echo the sentiments of our colleagues at EREC: rushed and ill-conceived policy reversals must not be allowed to derail our renewable energy objectives.”

The Renewable Energy Association represents renewable energy producers and promotes the use of all forms of renewable energy in the UK across power, heat, transport and renewable gas. It is the largest renewable trade association in the UK, with over 1,000 members, ranging from major multinationals to sole traders. For more information, see: www.r-e-a.net

Source: REA

For more information on: REA