EC sets criteria for bioenergy ILUC risk evaluation

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March 14 (Renewables Now) - The European Commission (EC) yesterday announced the criteria for determining which bioenergy feedstocks carry high and low indirect land-use change (ILUC) risks.

The European Parliament and the Council of Ministers now have two months, or up to four if they request more time to study the Delegated Act, to express an objection. If no objection is received, the text will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Evaluating ILUC risks associated with the production of biofuels, bioliquids and biomass fuels is crucial for determining the levels that can be counted towards meeting renewable energy targets of EU member states. High ILUC risk fuels, under the EC’s definition, are fuels produced from feedstock with a significant expansion into land with high carbon stock. The Delegated Act identifies the following, cumulative, conditions to define high ILUC risk: the global production area of the feedstock has grown annually by more than 1% and 100,000 hectares after 2008, and more than 10% of such expansion has taken place on land with high carbon stock.

The EC has included in the Renewable Energy Directive two different measures to address ILUC. Firstly, it sets national limits for the total contribution towards renewable energy targets of biofuels, bioliquids and biomass fuels produced from food or feed crops, since these present higher ILUC risks. This limit is expressed as 1 percentage point higher than the 2020 national share of such fuels in final energy consumption in rail and road transport in each member state, capped at 7%.

Secondly, the Directive sets national limits at Member States' 2019 level for the period 2021-2023 for high ILUC-risk biofuels, bioliquids and biomass fuels. From the start of 2024 these limits will be decreasing gradually until they reach 0% in 2030, at the latest.

It is important to note that there will be no limitation on the importation or use of high ILUC risk fuels in Europe. The limits are there only for amounts counted when calculating the national renewable energy shares. At the same time, there is an exemption from such limits in the Directive for biofuels, bioliquids and biomass fuels that present a low ILUC risk. These are fuels made from feedstocks grown on unused land that is not rich in carbon stock. The Delegated Act yesterday sets the criteria for certifying low ILUC risk fuels. The full text is available at https://ec.europa.eu/energy/sites/ener/files/documents/2_en_act_part1_v3.pdf.

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Tsvet has been following the development of the global renewable energy industry for almost nine years. She's got a soft spot for emerging markets.

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