The transport sector today is heavily dependent on fossil fuels: cars, busses, ships and aircrafts almost exclusively run on oil. As the transport sector is forecast to grow more rapidly than any other up to 2020 and is sector is crucial to the functioning of the European Internal market and the whole economy, security of supply is a major concern. Similarly, the emissions in the transport sector are very high – in the Third Emission Trading Period the aircraft sector has thus been added to the European Emission Trading System – and obviously an obstacle to Europe’s aims for a sustainable energy future.
Accordingly, with the Renewable Energy Directive 2009/28/EC a dedicated national binding minimum target of 10% renewable energy in the transport sector until 2020 has been introduced for each Member State. Experience with the indicative target of 5.75% under the first Biofuel Directive had previously proven that fuel distributors only use biofuels if they are either financially rewarded or forced to do so. As example: Germany had a very good record of uptake of biofule production by independent producers as long as they were exempted from the mineraloil tax. But as soon as the German government some years ago changed towards a Quota system with blending obligation, the smaller companies were forced out of the market and the power base is back in the hands of the major, incumbent players in the mineral oil sector. Also, there have been significant problems with public acceptance, in particular relating to sustainability of production. The Directive therefore introduced specific sustainability criteria to ensure the use only of sustainable biofuels, which generate net greenhouse gas emission savings without negative impact on biodiversity and land use. EREF will carefully screen the evaluation of the Commission along the sustainability criteria.
Still, the transport sector is slow in its transition to increased deployment of renewables – while the 10% target is projected to be overtaken by about 1.27% which constitutes a significant increase compared to the 3.1% in 2005, the development has so far focussed mainly on biodiesel and bioethanol. In view of the necessary energy system change however, the role of renewable electricity should be reconsidered as it provides necessary balancing assistance and drastically reduces greenhouse gas emissions.