Gallagher: the direction of biofuel policy in the UK

Gallagher has some thoughts on the direction of biofuel policy in the UK. I’ve left this to the last because, although it is the most interesting and proposes significant divergency from the EU position, I am not certain that the UK can move that far from the EU position.

The key paragraph is


Based upon this evidence the RFA have concluded that there is a significant risk

the current policy will not deliver its intended objective of significant net GHG emissions

savings. Accordingly, the RFA believe it would be unwise to proceed with

the introduction of biofuels in the manner, or at the pace, presently envisaged.



He doesn’t think that a Moratorium is a good idea…


A moratorium is likely to lead to a stagnant, unprofitable industry that is less prepared and able to invest in new technologies or source feedstock that does not cause land-use change.

An EU-wide moratorium is also likely to lead to a further increase in fossil fuel prices (due to the additional demand created from the removal of biofuels) with knock-on impacts for both food prices and the poor. A moratorium on biofuels could also discourage much needed investment in agriculture that is required to address increasing global food demands and to

encourage the development of a more productive agricultural system. This could

have particular benefits for the poor in the medium and long term.



His recommendations to reduce the rate of increase in the UK’s renewable transport fuel obligation looks sensible, with an aim of 5% of fuel by volume by 2013.

His suggestion that the


EU should not allow Member States to supply more than 5.75% (by energy) of biofuels; and allow more cautious Member States to supply to 4% biofuels (by energy).



Looks like he could be paving the way for the UK to limit its uptake of biofuels. Given the tenor of his report its possible.

His suggestion that


A target range of 5% to 8% (including 1-2% from advanced technologies) with a higher target triggered only if milestones in 2013/14 are met.



Is also very sensible.

If you argue with this type of point in this report then, you really should whether you’re into biofuels for the right reasons. For what its worth this is  the kind of biofuel policy that should be adopted by the European Union, and could resonate well in other heavy biofuel areas like the US. Of course the farming lobby and the big grain producers are likely to disagree in the short term.


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