Monday, September 12, 2016

Switch to Renewable Biomethane Road Haulage Fuels Requires Government Input says Freight Group

New Report Shows Electrification of HGVs Unlikely any Time Soon
Shipping News Feature
UK – By 2020, renewable energy must account for 15% of all electricity, heat and transport fuels in the UK and at least 10% of transport fuels must be renewable. On September 9 the parliamentary Energy and Climate Change Committee released its latest report ‘2020 renewable heat and transport targets’, a document of some importance to the road haulage and shipping sectors, and comments from the logistics community, led by the Freight Transport Association (FTA), were quick to point out governmental responsibilities.

The FTA gave evidence to the Committee in June outlining the key issues that are preventing the sector from utilising renewable fuels such as biomethane. This is likely to be an important factor as the report states that, although HGVs must be decarbonised, electrification, even in the long term, is unlikely stating that the Government must ensure HGV operators are sufficiently supplied and incentivised to move to biomethane over the medium-to-long term.

Whilst the UK is three-quarters of the way towards its 30% electricity sub-target and is expected to exceed it by 2020, the proportion of renewable transport fuels actually fell last year, meaning that the challenge of decarbonising transport is getting even tougher and the Committee has warned that the UK is set to miss 2020 renewable energy targets without a significant step change to encourage more renewable transport. Commenting on the report Christopher Snelling, FTA Head of National and Regional Policy, and someone who provided evidence to the Committee said:

“This report provides clear evidence that Government must review its current policy on renewable transport fuels. Whilst the UK must meet renewable energy targets, the freight sector is also under enormous pressure to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality, but we need the policies in place to make alternatives feasible. A greater proportion of Office for Low Emission Vehicles funding is also required for the freight sector if the UK is to meet the renewable energy targets. Lack of refuelling infrastructure and added expense of alternatives makes the business case extremely difficult for operators."

The FTA points out that current government policies, such as the Renewable Heat Incentive, are far more likely to encourage biomethane producers to inject into the grid for electricity and heating, rather than further upgrading the biomethane for use as a transport fuel.