Newsletter 06.2018

Dear readers,

Welcome to the third edition of our Eurofuel Newsletter!

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As a starter, with just a few days to go before our Eurofuel Technical Workshop on Future Liquid Fuels and our “Energy Talk” at EU Sustainable Energy Week, we are inviting you to look at the programme and join us on 6 and 7 June! Last-minute registrations are still possible! Further information is available here.

As the month of June is starting, we will also be approaching the end of the Bulgarian Presidency of the EU Council, which has been productive in the field of energy policy.

Trilogue negotiations are now at an advanced stage for the most challenging components of the Clean Energy package, including the Governance Regulation, the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) and the Renewable Energy Directive (REDII). Climate Commissioner Cañete has alluded to higher targets in both REDII and EED, which are however disputed by the Council, while a possible completion of the Governance file has been increasingly linked with progress on the EED. We will have to wait until the very last minutes to see if the Bulgarian Presidency has managed to complete these files before the end of their term on 30 June.

 

Renewable Energy Directive (REDII): Parliamentarians to make concessions for a higher target

Trilogues on REDII have achieved substantial progress on the more technical aspects of the file. However, the question of the overall target remained open. With the European Parliament and the Council not willing to give up on their initial renewable targets of 35 and 27%, respectively, the negotiations on this highly political issue were left for a trilogue round on 31 May. This decisive meeting led to the presentation of two options by the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council: either a lower renewable target of 30-31% by 2030 and many other Parliament’s demands such as a sub-target for heating and cooling; or a higher target of 32-33% but with concessions on other aspects. MEPs involved in the trilogue are reported to be more supportive of the higher target, but they will now need to decide on the elements they are ready to give up, in order for the Council to accept this higher target. Other issues on the menu included the consideration of advanced biofuels and the question of a possible ban on palm oil.

The show will go on with an Energy Council meeting on 11 June and the attempt of a “final” trilogue meeting on 13 June.  

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Energy Efficiency Directive (EED): Continued disagreement on targets

The EED is another important dossier in which trilogue negotiations have been extremely tough. After three rounds of negotiations, the remaining sticking points when negotiators met on 30 May included Article 7 on annual energy efficiency obligations and the overall efficiency target for 2030. On the obligations front, the Bulgarians suggested adding transport in the scheme, although many Member States had been opposing this move. In the third trilogue on 16 May, parties had come closer to each other regarding the basis of a binding and realistic goal for Article 7. The Council has now accepted a text close to what the Commission suggested.

The main sticking point remains the overall target, although some progress has been made. On 30 May, the Council could accept a maximum 32% of an indicative nature, whereas the Parliament is unlikely to support anything lower than a binding 33% objective.

The last hopes for an agreement before the end of the Bulgarian Presidency’s term lie on an Energy Council on 11 June and the final trilogue meeting planned on the same day as for the REDII, i.e. on 13 June.

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Energy Union Governance Regulation: Line or banana?

The Energy Union Governance file is closely linked with EED and REDII negotiations. The Parliament has been calling for a strong governance system with binding targets that will ensure success of other files as well. At a trilogue meeting on 23 May, discussions started on a “gap-filler” mechanism to bring Member States back into line if they do not comply with their CO2 reduction or renewable energy targets by 2030.

A contentious issue is the shape of the trajectory towards the 2030 targets: MEPs have called for a linear, regular trajectory to meet these goals; whereas the Council is pushing for a “banana shape” trajectory, with a slow increase at the beginning and a sharper increase at the end of the period. There seems to be a momentum for major progress – if not an agreement – at the next trilogue meeting, planned for 19 June.

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Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD): Ready for take-away!

On 14 May, the adoption of the EPBD was rubber-stamped, as the Council approved the text agreed in trilogue back in December 2017. The final legislative act was then signed in Strasbourg on 30 May. The revised directive calls upon Member States to develop long-term renovation strategies to attain a binding “nearly zero energy” target for buildings by 2050. Amongst others, it simplifies the inspections of heating and air conditioning systems and introduces an obligation to install charging points for electric vehicles in non-residential buildings with more than 20 parking spaces. The European Parliament had approved the same text on 17 April by a wide margin.

The text will enter into force 20 days later after publication in the EU Official Journal. EU countries will then have 20 months to take it home and transpose the directive into national law.

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Meet us and discuss the future of liquid fuels and heating!

What will liquid fuels look like in the future? How can they contribute to meeting Europe’s climate and energy challenges?

We have been delighted to discuss these issues with oil downstream industry stakeholders at the International Downstream Week in Prague on 24 May.

We also look forward to a great Technical Workshop and Energy Talk on 6 and 7 June in Brussels. Come and join us!

We wish you a very nice and warm start of the summer!

Tristan Suffys

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