High time we start taking renewable electricity seriously as a transport fuel

(EurActiv, 4 Nov 2019) Transport’s contribution to EU emissions is more and more in the spotlight. Geert De Cock explains what the European Commission should do to get more renewable energy into our vehicles and why any schemes should be “grounded in reality”.

Geert De Cock is electricity and energy manager at Transport & Environment, a clean mobility group.

Like the baker who suddenly smells their cake burning, the European Commission has gone running to the proverbial oven to see what can be done about its unambitious climate policies.

Belatedly, the EU executive has said it will seriously look into increasing the bloc’s climate ambitions: from a 40% emissions reduction to -55% in 2030. Clearly, EU countries will need all the tools at their disposal to achieve steep emissions cuts.

Allow us to suggest one policy that could help member states deliver rapid emission reductions in a sector that for the longest time has resisted decarbonisation efforts: transport – road transport in particular.

The Renewable Energy Directive now states that member states need to increase the share of renewable transport fuels to 14% by 2030. But only half of that, a 7% target for advanced fuels, is actually binding for member states.

Importantly, ‘renewable electricity supplied to the road and rail transport sectors, shall be taken into account’ in the implementation of this target. But how can this be done?

Unlike biofuels, renewable electricity supplied to electric vehicles and trains cannot be simply blended, using existing infrastructure. EVs are charged at a charging station or at home. How can this renewable electricity be counted towards meeting the binding, minimum 7% target?

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EurActiv, 4 Nov 2019: High time we start taking renewable electricity seriously as a transport fuel