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Two-speed Europe on biofuels

Biofuels targets–that’s what everybody talks about. But in Bulgaria, debate focus on regulation and sanctions. We are in a two speed Europe!

In July, the European Parliament’s Environment Committee backed a proposal for a target of just 4% by 2015, “out of which at least 20% is met by the use of electricity or hydrogen from renewable sources, biogas or transport fuels from ligno-cellulosic biomass and algae”. That angered the European Commission, which appears well anchored on its 10% goal. The same month the Bulgarian agency for metrology announced a tender about control equipment, guess for what… for biodiesel.

This means that until the end of this year, Bulgaria will have a laboratory, equipped for controlling the percentage of bio components in the fuels, offered on the Bulgarian market. The petrol and diesel, sold in Bulgaria as of 2008, have to contain 5% biofuel to comply with the renewable energy sources and biofuels act, adopted in 2007.

Recent checks show that only three petrol filling stations of the Lukoil chain meet the new requirements, according to press agency, Focus. All other petrol station chains act as they are unaware of the new requirements or have an excuse for not complying with them.

The agency for metrology admitted recently that the legally binding target is not respected, but explained that only the Ministry for Finance could impose sanctions to the non complying companies. Meanwhile, in June, the Association of biofuels producers sent a letter to the EC, informing about the situation. The association is now is threatening to sue the state for large economical damages. Installations for the production of nearly 140 000 tons of bio diesel and 20 000 tons of bio ethanol were constructed between 2005 and 2006.

Currently the production of biofuels is blocked because of the legislative chaos in country. So while the debate in the other EU countries is already focusing on whether to decrease the target for the biofuels, in Bulgaria the debate is on another totally different speed: Is there any need of target when it is clear that in the near future nobody will control and impose any sanctions if the target is not met?

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