‘Farmers can be part of the solution’: 10% biofuel obligation rate welcomed

The decision to increase the biofuel obligation rate to 10% – made by the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten – has been welcomed by the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA).

Commenting on the move, ICSA president Patrick Kent said: “This makes sense because crop-based biofuels have up to 70% less GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions than fossil fuels, reduce dependence on imports from outside the EU and provide a much-needed boost to EU arable farmers.

“However, it must go hand-in-hand with Ireland rejecting the absurd EU proposal to cut the crop-based biofuel mandate from the current 7%,” he added.

The ICSA has been campaigning to overturn the EU proposals, which the organisation believes represent a “complete U-turn on renewables” under the Renewable Energy Directive (RED II).

“Farmers can be part of the solution on climate change. But this requires a positive policy framework to allow farmers to grow more renewable energy crops in Europe – not less,” Kent continued.

But this is only possible if there is coherence in EU and member state renewable energy policy, the president stressed.

“We are calling on Minister Naughten to follow through on his sensible decision on the national biofuel obligation by strongly opposing the European Commission’s proposals on reducing the biofuel mandate from 7% and also rejecting the botched EU Parliament compromise – because neither are compatible with obliging fuel suppliers to blend 10% biofuels in the fuel mix.”

Kent added that biofuel production from EU crops results in significant supplies of high-value protein feeds, such as distillers grains and rapeseed meal.

At a time when the EU has launched a consultation on how to increase protein supplies in Europe, it makes no sense to reduce a very useful source of proteins produced in the EU.

“Over-dependence on imported GM soya is a major weakness in EU livestock systems and it is a particular threat to the Irish dairy sector,” Kent concluded.