April 20 2018
The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten, T.D.,has published a draft order increasing the biofuel obligation rate to 10% (by volume) from 1 January 2019.
The Minister also published a Policy Statement outlining the proposed future development of the Biofuels Obligation Scheme. The Policy Statement is intended to provide certainty to industry and stakeholders thus facilitating the longer term planning necessary to increase the use of biofuels.
Minister Naughten stated: "The Biofuels Obligation Scheme is a vital policy measure that increases the use of renewable energy and decreases emissions in the transport sector. Today I have published a Policy Statement setting out the increased level of obligation and future development of the scheme to 2030 and beyond. The scheme currently contributes an estimated 450 thousand tonnes in carbon emission reductions each year towards our national targets. The changes I have announced today will increase this contribution to over 600 thousand tonnes annually."
Biofuels are motor fuels produced from renewable sources such as bioethanol (which can be blended with petrol) and biodiesel. Bioethanol can be produced from crops such as sugarcane, wheat and corn. Materials such as plant oils, used cooking oil and animals fats can be used to make biodiesel.
Biofuels have a wide range of benefits from reducing Ireland's dependency on fossil fuels to lowering greenhouse gas emissions. The use of biofuels will continue to be the principal means by which Ireland increases the share of renewable energy in our transport sector.
The Biofuels Obligation Scheme was set up in 2010 and requires suppliers of motor fuel to ensure that biofuels make up a certain percentage of national annual fuel sales. This is known as the Biofuel Obligation Rate. The rate was initially set at 4% (by volume) and has increased progressively to the current rate of 8% (by volume). All biofuels must meet strict sustainability criteria to qualify under the Scheme. In 2017, circa 225 million litres of biofuel was placed on the Irish market.
A public consultation on the proposed phased increases to the Biofuel Obligation Rate was held between December 2017 and January 2018.
The draft Order and Policy Statement are available on the Department's website. Members of the public and interested stakeholders can submit their comments to the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment on the draft Order up to 18 May 2018.