Use of biofuels – liquid or gaseous fuel for use in transport and produced from biomass - can make a significant contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The EU Directive on Renewable Energy sets targets to stimulate the use of sustainably produced biofuels and these have been implemented in national legislation by the Netherlands Parliament.
As biofuels are produced and traded on a global scale, international agreements are essential to ensure sustainability. The Netherlands is represented in the Global Bio-Energy Partnership by the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment.
EU Directive on Renewable Energy
In 2011, the Dutch parliament incorporated the provisions of the EU Directive on Renewable Energy into national legislation. The EU Directive sets ambitious targets for all Member States to increase the proportion of energy from renewable sources including biofuels to 20% by 2020, and in the transport sector to 10% by the same year.
The Netherlands will implement the EU Directive by gradually increasing the proportion of energy from renewable sources such as biofuels, biogas and electricity for road transport. The aim is to build confidence that biofuels are a viable energy source and to move gradually towards the EU target of 10% share of biofuels by 2020 in the transport sector.
Biofuels to be included in meeting the renewable energy targets have to meet the sustainability criteria under the EU Directive for the production of biofuels and liquid biomass. Sustainable means that production of biofuels respects biodiversity rich areas, primary forests, peatlands and contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Indirect change in land use
The Directive incorporates sustainability aspects for which as yet there are no strict requirements. One such aspect is reducing the negative consequences of indirect change in land use. The Netherlands is proactive in the EU in developing measures to reduce these negative impacts.
Much biomass is produced and used in countries outside the Netherlands, and international agreements need to be made on sustainable production. The Netherlands is working with other countries on developing policy for sustainable production of biofuels and liquid biomass. The Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment is a member of the Global Bio-Energy Partnership (GBEP). GBEP is a global cooperation of governments, international organisations, and companies to advance sustainable use of bio-energy.
In The Gleneagles Plan of Action (July 2005), the G8 +5 (Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa) included the launch of the GBEP to support wider, cost-effective biomass and biofuels deployment, particularly in developing countries where biomass use is prevalent. GBEP has since been expanded with other countries including the Netherlands. GBEP has developed sustainability indicators for bio energy for national voluntary use. Currently these indicators are being tested by several GBEP partners and their use promoted in other countries around.