EU to fall short of biofuels targets

By Ryan C. Christiansen | April 14, 2009
Web exclusive posted May 1, 2009, at 7:55 a.m. CST

The latest progress report from the European Commission says that collectively, European Union member states are unlikely to reach the EU's target for using 5.75 percent renewable fuels, including ethanol, biodiesel and other renewable fuels, in the transportation sector. While some member states already have reached their own targets, other countries are falling behind, and the EU as a whole might only achieve using 4 percent renewable fuels in 2010.

Under an EU directive, member states are required to submit annual progress reports to the Commission. By 2007, only Germany had managed to surpass the 2010 goal, using 7.4 percent of transport fuels from renewable sources. Austria, Bulgaria, France, Lithuania, and Sweden individually achieved more than half the 5.75 percent target by that year. The EU as a whole achieved less than half of the target at 2.6 percent overall.

The European Union Council of Ministers adopted a legislative package in April that increases the amount of ethanol to be blended with petroleum gasoline in the EU. The EU plans to increase the share of renewable energy it consumes in the transport sector to 10 percent by 2020. The measures were first proposed by the Commission in January 2008 and were amended by the European Parliament in December. EU member states must now adopt national plans by June 2010 and enact national laws by the end of that year. In its progress report, the Commission said it believes that this new directive includes a stronger legislative framework for ensuring increased use of renewable fuels in the EU.