Level of Biofuel obligation to increase from 10% to 11% from January 2020
The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment Richard Bruton T.D. today 14 February, announced that he has signed a Statutory Instrument (S.I.) which will increase the level of biofuel in the fuel mix. The obligation will increase to 11% by volume with effect from 1st January 2020. This follows a public consultation on the proposed increase which closed on 23rd January 2019.
The Minister is currently developing an all of government plan to make Ireland a leader in responding to climate change. The Minister recently held a public consultation on the Plan, which will have actions across all areas such as heat, electricity, transport and agriculture according to strict timelines. Transitioning to cleaner fuels is an integral part of delivering on our ambition.
The Biofuels Obligation Scheme requires suppliers of road transport fuels to include a percentage 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.
Since 1st of January 2019, the level of the biofuel obligation increased from a previous rate of 8% to the current rate of 10% by volume. The signing of the S.I. today means that all suppliers of road transport fuels will be required to increase the percentage of biofuel in their fuel with the obligation level increasing from 10% to 11% by 2020.
The increased obligation from the previous rate of 8% to 11% 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.
A public consultation in relation to increasing the level of biofuel further post 2020 will be carried out later this year. This will provide stakeholders and the public further opportunity to input into biofuel policy development.
Minister Bruton stated: "Today's announcement will have a real impact on the level of greenhouse gas emissions coming from our transport sector. By increasing the level of biofuel in the fuel mix from an obligation level of 8% to now 11%, we will save 200,000 tonnes of carbon every year. Transitioning to cleaner fuels is an integral part of our ambition of being a leader in responding to climate change. Today's announcement is a very positive step forward and I look forward to consulting later in the year and stretching our delivery in this area even further."
Notes for the Editor
In April 2018, 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 10% by volume. From January 2020, the obligation rate will increase to 11% by volume. 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.