Europe’s renewables ‘multipliers’ only subtract


ePure's Emmanuel Desplechin writes his column about Europe's renewables policies and the loopholes that reduce their impact. European lawmakers are finalizing the EU’s renewable energy policy for 2020 through 2030. Negotiators are trying to reconcile different ambitions for renewable energy in transport from the European Commission, Parliament and EU member countries. All sides claim to want to boost renewables, but it’s necessary to look behind the numbers in each of their scenarios to see how they fall short of what Europe needs to meet its climate goals. They rely on “multipliers” that artificially inflate the contribution of certain renewables, while doing nothing to help the climate. Double counting electrified rail transport or certain waste-based fuels are good examples. These “virtual renewables” allow countries to create the illusion of progress. But make no mistake: In reality, they leave a gap that will be filled only by fossil energy. This is important because each of the current proposals under consideration could in some way limit the contribution of sustainable biofuels like European ethanol to the EU’s energy mix.

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