Update: EU Action Amending Renewable Energy Directive

Here’s a quick update to developments in Europe, reported in my April 16, 2015 blog entry.

EU Renewable Energy Directive

Proposed revisions to the RED. On April 28, the full EU Parliament approved the final compromise for amending the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) that had previously been announced on April 14. The approved amendment to the RED will cap food-based biofuels at 7%, will set an optional target of 0.5% for advanced biofuels (which would count double towards meeting each member state’s targets), and would require reporting of indirect land use change (ILUC) but not require that ILUCs be taken into account when calculating carbon intensities under the directive. The amendment apparently needs to be ratified by the Council of the EU in June. More details on this most recent action can be found here.

According to press reports, this amendment remains controversial. Most industry groups have endorsed it as a useful next step in moving EU biofuel usage towards second generation fuels; while NGOs and environmental groups expressed disappointment that stricter limits were not placed on food-based fuels and that accounting for ILUC was not made mandatory. My view pretty much corresponds to the industry consensus — it’s far from a perfect law, and I would have preferred to see much stronger incentives for second generation biofuels such as cellulosic fuels, photosynthetic fuels, etc. And it’s somewhat distressing that it took 3 long years of debate and controversy to get to this result, which unfortunately doesn’t bode well for the prospects for further reform in the coming years. But what’s the famous quote about a long journey starting with a single step? Maybe that will prove to be the case here.

D. Glass Associates, Inc. is a consulting company specializing in government and regulatory support for renewable fuels and industrial biotechnology. David Glass, Ph.D. is a veteran of over thirty years in the biotechnology industry, with expertise in industrial biotechnology regulatory affairs, U.S. and international renewable fuels regulation, patents, technology licensing, and market and technology assessments. Dr. Glass previously served as director of regulatory affairs for Joule Unlimited Technologies, Inc. More information on D. Glass Associates’ government and regulatory consulting capabilities, and copies of some of Dr. Glass’s prior presentations on biofuels and biotechnology regulation, are available at www.slideshare.net/djglass99 and at www.dglassassociates.com. The views expressed in this blog are those of Dr. Glass and D. Glass Associates and do not represent the views of any other organization with which Dr. Glass is affiliated. Please visit our other blog, Advanced Biotechnology for Biofuels