UKFIDA Responds To Irish Government’s Consultation On Biofuels Obligation Scheme

2nd December 2019

UK and Ireland Fuel Distributors Association (UKIFDA) has submitted its views on behalf of UKIFDA members on the Irish Government’s consultation in relation to the development of the Biofuels Obligation Scheme for 2021-2030.

“UKIFDA is supportive of the Irish Government’s Biofuels Obligation Scheme. However, the timing and level of obligation need careful thought and consideration from the industry supply chain” says Guy Pulham, UKIFDA Chief Executive.

Biofuels are seen as a means to reduce Ireland’s use of oil, to cut greenhouse gas emissions and to help the country meet its renewable energy targets.

Guy Pulham comments: “Transitioning to biofuels is vital if the Irish Government is to achieve its decarbonisation targets – biofuels have a smaller carbon footprint and enable consumers to switch to a more environmentally friendly fuel pretty much immediately.

“Naturally, though, consideration must be given to the specific industry and whether the targets proposed by this Obligation Scheme-related consultation are feasible for the transport fuels sector.

“We welcome the opportunity to respond to this consultation and want to work with the Irish Government on the further development of the scheme.

“It is important that consumers must be communicated with clearly and honestly to enable them to make the right decision. Motorists need to be aware of the implications for their cars, especially for older vehicles, to enable proper management.

“Communication from the manufacturers, fuel suppliers and Government must be the same and not increase pressure on motorists who may be struggling financially. The likely costs of increased blending levels are unclear at present, but the Government should be aware of the implications for consumers.

“The availability in rural areas needs consideration too, as do the logistics for distributors. Whether distributors have the onsite storage for biofuel alongside petrol and diesel – and the costs implications of finding storage solutions.

UKIFDA Irish Representative Nick Hayes adds: “We find the suggestion of an obligation scheme for the heat sector an interesting one. Biofuels can and should play a role in the decarbonisation of the heat sector and our industry is already discussing how best to ready the supply chain for biofuels and ways to increase innovation across Europe – an obligation scheme could definitely encourage innovation, but consumer impact is key for us.

“In Ireland, 686,000 homes are heated using heating oil. However, only 11% of homes are on oil in Dublin, compared to 76% in Monaghan and 70% in Cavan. Ireland is a very rural country and most of the population is off the mains gas grid, with many homes older and poorly insulated.

“Unlike with the Government’s target to install 400,000 heat pumps in Irish homes by 2030, which was included in its Climate Action Plan released in June, biofuels enable consumers to change the fuel without needing to change the heating system. Over time, as 100% biofuel comes to market, boilers can be replaced – but even then, this cost would be significantly lower than retrofitting heat pumps into poorly insulated homes.

“The transition of using biofuels means consumers can cut their carbon footprint today without an immediate financial outlay.

“With regard to an obligation scheme, though, careful thought is needed, and the targets must be realistic or the risk of extra expense for homeowners is high. We are open to further discussion on this topic as we’re passionate about biofuels and the part they can play in cutting carbon in the heating sector.

“Low carbon liquid fuels are the future, and biofuels have the potential to help the different industries achieve their decarbonisation targets.”

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