EBA’s policy update in June

Update on ILUC proposal, sustainability for biogas in electricity and heating, fertiliser and REACH regulations

Council reached a political agreement on ILUC proposal

After long and intensive discussions on the content of the so-called ILUC proposal amending the Renewable Energy and Fuel Quality Directives, the Member States’ Energy Ministers approved on Friday, June 13, a compromise text prepared by the Greek Presidency. One of the most controversial topics was the promotion of advanced biofuels under a sub-target. Even though less ambitious than wished by many country delegations, the compromise text includes a binding sub-target that shall be set on national level and shall be based on a reference value of 0.5 percentage points of the 10 % target in the transport sector. Additionally, the text comprises a 7% cap on biofuels from crops (instead of 5% as proposed by the Commission), ILUC reporting and double counting of advanced biofuels – source separated waste and non-food cellulosic material such as grasses had been added to the list of advanced feedstock.

Please find the press release with a summary of the compromise here and the whole text in EBA’s members area.

Next steps: The Council and the European Parliament will start negotiations on the final text of the Directive in autumn 2014.

Sustainability recommendations for biogas in electricity and heating

The European Commission is expected to come up before the EU’s summer break with a follow-up report on the sustainability recommendations on solid and gaseous biomass used in electricity and heating sectors which was initially published in 2010. EBA saw the draft of the new report that does not set binding sustainability criteria but encourages Member States to align as much as possible their existing and planned national sustainability schemes, including through mutual recognition. In order to facilitate this convergence process, an updated GHG emission accounting methodology and related default values are contained in the annexes of the document. As regards biogas, Member States are asked to promote increased use of waste, animal manure and slurry in anaerobic digestion, with the use of energy crops only kept to the level needed to maintain the operational performance and efficiency of the biogas and biomethane installations. Biogas plants should reach 60% greenhouse gas savings.

Next steps: For the post-2020 period, the Commission will further review the issue of biomass sustainability.

Update on Fertiliser and REACH regulations

A meeting of the Commission’s working group on the revision of Fertiliser Regulation at the beginning of June was organised to discuss among others the essential safety and quality requirements for different fertiliser groups. One of the most discussed issues is the possibility that no EU-wide End-of-Waste criteria will be set in which case existing national criteria together with the Fertiliser Regulation’s requirements on feedstock and limit values will apply. EBA and other members of the group are invited to send comments on the proposed limit values by the end of August.

Please find the presentation with the proposed limit values and short minutes of the meeting in EBA’s members’ page.

As regards digestate’s exemption from the REACH Regulation, EBA’s lobby efforts have started producing results: the advisory body composed of national experts, which provides the European Commission and ECHA with expert advice on REACH will raise the question of exempting digestate from REACH in its next meeting.