After an exceptionally lengthy debate on the exact nature of the renewable energy targets, additional rules have been put in place that have led to tougher targets but more flexibility for how to achieve them.
The European Union’s Renewable Energy Directive is somewhat complex but has ramifications for any material handling companies that work with biofuels and biomass that travels to or trades with businesses in the EU, as the destination country is working to one of two climate targets.
The first is to ensure that 29 per cent of energy consumption in the transportation sector is using renewable energy sources, such as biofuels, electric batteries or hydrogen fuel cells, by the year 2030.
The other target is to reduce the transport sector’s greenhouse gas intensity by 14.5 per cent by 2030.
The reason for the two climate targets is that the European Union is a wide and diverse trading block and most countries have very different fuel and energy infrastructures.
France, for example, primarily relies on low-carbon nuclear power for its energy requirements, whilst Italy heavily uses biofuels and has campaigned for changes to this and similar legislation that would have outlawed the combustion engine entirely.
As well as this, certain types of second-generation biofuels such as used cooking oil will be counted for double towards renewable energy targets, which in theory incentivises manufacturers to use them over other, less environmentally sound biofuels.
Regardless, there is a cap on the extent that biofuels on this list will count towards overall climate targets, which as of its last revision remains at 1.7 per cent, although member states can apply to the European Commission to change the limit.
As well as this, Renewable Fuels of Non-Biological Origin (RFNBOs) and advanced biofuels must make up at least 5.5 per cent of the share of renewable energy, with the targets for both having been merged together.