REA slams transport fuel recommendations

Advice given to Chris Huhne from the Committee on Climate Change on renewable transport fuels has been branded disappointing and even “illegal” by the Renewable Energy Association. Energy Secretary Mr […]

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By Kelvin Ross

Advice given to Chris Huhne from the Committee on Climate Change on renewable transport fuels has been branded disappointing and even “illegal” by the Renewable Energy Association.

Energy Secretary Mr Huhne asked the CCC for its views on renewable targets to 2020.

It responded to him in a letter which covered all areas of renewables, including a call for clarity over the future of the Renewable Heat Incentive, currently in legislative limbo, and shortcomings in the planning regime of offshore wind transmission.

The REA has backed these recommendations, with chief executive Gaynor Hartnell saying the call for a detailed position of the RHI is “spot on”.

But she disagreed strongly with the committee’s stance on transport fuels, which stated: “The current transport target in the 2009 Renewable Energy Strategy is to achieve 10% of energy from renewable sources by 2020, which is likely to be met primarily through the use of biofuels. This target should be lowered unless new evidence shows that it can be achieved sustainably.”

Hartnell said: “The recommendation to undershoot the 10% mandatory target set out in the Renewable Energy Directive is bitterly disappointing. It would be illegal, too, unless electric transport fills the shortfall.”

The CCC made its recommendations against the backdrop of The Gallagher Review, carried out in 2008 into biofuel ambition.

Gallagher suggested that a target of around 8% biofuels in 2020 is sustainable, which the CCC endorsed.

But Hartnell stated: “We don’t agree with Gallagher, as our own study shows that 80% of the UK and EU’s biofuels could come from domestic production, which has excellent environmental standards. We had our report peer reviewed by Imperial College London, and we urge government to take its conclusions into account and reject the committee’s advice. Otherwise we’ll see yet more damage to investor confidence among UK biofuel producers”.