Published: Fri, 12 January 2018
Seán Kelly MEP and Leader of the Fine Gael in the European Parliament this week hosted an EU biofuels strategy meeting with fellow MEPs, experts and stakeholders in Brussels. Mr Kelly, who is leading current parliamentary negotiations on renewable energy for the EPP, stressed the importance of protecting the investments made in conventional biofuels.
“The current renewable energy directive, and the long debates on Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) it brought, has caused endless uncertainty for investors,” said the Ireland South MEP who hosted the event with the European renewable ethanol association ePure to highlight the various issues surrounding Europe’s decarbonisation deadlock.
As Ireland’s only full Member of the Industry, Research & Energy (ITRE) Committee, Mr Kelly underlined the need for a fair and practical solution, and for Member States to recognise the opportunities at hand: “We will not replace the transport fleet with Electric Vehicles overnight, or even in the short term, without significant expense for the taxpayer. For this reason, we need to have biofuels in our fuel mix – otherwise we will continue to burn more and more polluting fossil fuels.”
“Additionally, biofuels bring significant opportunities for our farmers. Tillage farming has taken a hit in many parts of Europe, not least Ireland, in recent times. With a biofuels policy beyond 2020, we can incentivise the uptake of sustainable European biofuels – and I emphasise the sustainable aspect – and give an important revenue source to our farmers.
“We have a protein shortage in Europe; a supportive biofuels policy promotes resource efficiency as many feed stocks produce high-value animal products as a by-product – this would reduce import significantly for the livestock sector,” he told attendees and Members of the Parliament’s Agricultural (AGRI), Environmental (ENVI), and Industry, Research & Energy (ITRE) Committees.
Following his extensive work on the Renewable Energy Directive II (RED II), the MEP hosted the event ahead of a European Parliament vote on RED II, which will take place in Strasbourg next week.
MEPs including Albert Dess, Bendt Bendtsen, Angélique Delahaye, Henna Virkkunen and Peter Jahr participated in the exchange of views, as did expert speakers Emmanuel Desplechin from ePure, Ausilio Bauen from E4tech and Luc Pelkmans from the International Energy Agency.