17 March 2009 12:29 [Source: ICIS news]
By Rachel Howat and Alex Nimmo
“Policy and practice must be directed by real science,” said Sir Bob Geldof, keynote speaker at the World Biofuels Markets conference in
Lord Browne, managing director of Riverstone Holdings and former CEO of BP, talked about the importance of close partnerships between government and business.
Browne also said that policies must be clear and stable to encourage investment in new energy sectors.
Dr Zoran Stancic, deputy director general of the Directorate-General Research with the European Commission, said: “Sustainable development is a fundamental objective of the EU. Dependency on oil in
Speakers also raised the issue of commitments to sustainable fuels, such as the investment by the European Commission of €2.35bn ($3.05bn) in non-nuclear renewable fuels between 2007-2013, which it was hoped would create 120,000 jobs.
Away from the podium, however, the outlook among delegates was less rosy, as company sources spoke of the struggle to find investment due to the global economic crisis and the disruption to the biofuels market by legislative uncertainty.
One European producer of biodiesel said: “The German government still has not voted on sustainability criteria for biodiesel and there is no sign of when they will do so.
“The biofuel blending targets have also not been set. It is impossible to understand the shape of demand in 2009 in this situation.”
Delegates also said that governments would do well to heed the advice of Browne and ensure that investors feel secure enough about the future of the biofuels industry to place what little money there is at the moment into the field.
($1 = €0.77)
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