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Minister Bruton Announces Increase in Level of Renewable Energy Used in Transport Sector

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Level of Biofuel in fuel mix to increase from 8% to 10% from January 2019

Minister Bruton consults on further increasing the level to 11% from January 2020

 

The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment Richard Bruton T.D. today (Friday the 14th of December 2018) announced his intention to increase the level of biofuel used in road transport fuels. In addition to an increase from 8% to 10% from the 1st of January 2019, the Minister also published a draft order that will increase the level of renewable energy used in the transport sector further to 11% from 1 January 2020. This draft order will now be open to consultation.

 

The Minister recently secured government approval to develop an all of government plan to make Ireland a leader in responding to climate change. Transitioning to cleaner fuels is an important part of delivering on that ambition.

 

The Biofuels Obligation Scheme requires suppliers of road transport fuels to include a proportion of biofuels in fuel placed on the market in Ireland. The inclusion of biofuels in the fuel mix increases the level of renewable energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector.

 

From the 1st of January 2019, the level of biofuel in the fuel mix will increase from the current level of 8%, to 10%. Today the Minister also published a draft order to increase the level further to 11% by volume by January 2020. This would mean that all suppliers of road transport fuels would be required to increase the percentage of biofuel in their fuel from the current level of 8% to 11% by 2020. The consultation will run until the 23rd of January 2019.

 

The increased obligation from 8% to 11% by volume is expected to lead to over 70 million litres of fossil fuel being replaced with biofuel and reduce Ireland's emissions by almost 200 thousand tonnes of carbon each year.

 

Minister Bruton stated: "I am currently developing an all of government plan to make Ireland a leader in responding to climate change. This plan will have actions across all sectors of society and will have timelines with clear lines of responsibility. Transitioning to cleaner fuels is an important part of delivering on that ambition. From January of this year, the level of Biofuel will increase from 8% to 10%. I am hoping to increase that level further to 11% from January 2020. This would mean replacing an estimated 70 million litres of fossil fuel with biofuel and is estimated to save almost 200 thousand tonnes of carbon each year. I encourage all interested parties to partake in the consultation."

 

Details on the proposed order and how submissions can be made can be found here.

 

ENDS

 

Notes for the Editor

  • In April of this year, a Biofuels Obligation Scheme Policy Statement was published which set out actions to be implemented including increases to the biofuel obligation in 2019 and 2020.
  • Biofuels are renewable transport fuels produced from biomass material. They can be manufactured from a wide range of materials including sugarcane, wheat and corn, and also from waste materials such as plant oils and animals fats.  Types of biofuels available include bioethanol (which can be blended with petrol) and biodiesel. 
  • The Biofuel Obligation Scheme was established in 2010 and has become a key pillar of Ireland's energy policy.  The scheme operates by placing a mandatory obligation which is termed the biofuel 'obligation rate' on suppliers of road transport fuels to ensure that a proportion of the fuels they place on the Irish market are produced from renewable sources.  
  • Fuel suppliers can meet their obligation in two ways.  They can place the biofuel on the market themselves or can purchase certificates from companies that sell biofuels to market.  Certificates are awarded on the basis of 2 certificates per litre of sustainable biofuel if that biofuel is produced from wastes or residues or 1 certificate per litre for all other sustainable biofuels.  All biofuels must meet strict sustainability criteria to qualify for certificates. 
  • In 2017, a total of 225 million litres of biofuel (167 million litres biodiesel, 58 million litres bioethanol) were placed on the Irish market.  All of the biodiesel placed on the Irish market was produced from feedstocks classified as wastes or residues such as used cooking oil and tallow (waste from the meat processing industry).
  • The biofuels obligation rate has increased from an initial level of 4% by volume to the current level of 8% by volume.  From January 2019, the obligation rate will increase to 10% by volume and, based on today's announcement, is planned to further increase to 11% by volume from January 2020. It should be noted that an obligation of 11% by volume means that for every 89 litres of fossil fuel that is placed on the road transport market, an obligated party must have 11 certificates. The legislative requirement is therefore 12.359% (11 divided by 89).
  • The adoption of biofuels provides a range of benefits that includes reducing Ireland's dependency on fossil fuels and ensuring that a proportion of the transport fuel used in Ireland consists of environmentally sustainable fuels that lower greenhouse gas emissions.

 

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