EU Taxonomy: Ministers warn new criteria could undermine growth of renewables


Ministers from ten Member States have warned that proposed new sustainability criteria for bioenergy under the European Commission’s Delegated Act on Taxonomy will harm investments in renewable energy.

In a letter to Commissioner Mairead McGuinness, the ministers say the existing criteria for the sustainability of biomass as defined under the recently adopted Renewable Energy Directive should remain.

“With the energy sector still accounting for 75% of total GHG emissions it is essential that the Commission’s upcoming delegated act on taxonomy promotes further investments in sustainable renewable energy,” the letter states. “In its current form, however, the delegated act counteracts this purpose by introducing new criteria that goes well beyond those in the Renewable Energy Directive.”

The letter – signed by ministers from Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania , Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden – argues there is no need to redefine the sustainability of bioenergy, which has a “crucial role” in reaching EU climate goals.

“The recently adopted revised Renewable Energy Directive establishes a clearly defined set of criteria for sustainability of energy originating from various biomass sources,” the ministers wrote. “The Taxonomy Regulation specifically states that the Commission’s delegated act should be in line with these criteria.”

Parliamentary questions

Similar concerns about the taxonomy delegated act have come from MEPs. In a question to the Commission submitted in December, a group of MEPs from the EPP noted that “Technologies such as biogas and biofuels offer many forms of added value, in that they are not only renewable energies, but also make it possible to use certain forms of agricultural waste and at the same time generate economic benefits for farms.”

Another group of MEPs, from the S&D, submitted a question raising the concern that the delegated act “will prevent, rather than promote, future investments and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.”

ePURE recently joined with the European Bioeconomy Alliance in a joint position on the Taxonomy Regulation.

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