Czech Aid for Biofuels Approved by EU to Continue Through 2020

The Czech government won approval from the European Union to continue aid for some biofuels as the bloc seeks to meet a goal of boosting the share of renewable sources in energy consumption.

The aid system, which provides for cuts in excise duty or refunds to favor pure or highly concentrated biofuels, can run through 2020, the European Commission said Wednesday in a statement in Brussels. Biofuels benefiting from aid under the Czech program, originally approved by the EU in 2008, must meet certain sustainability criteria.

“The commission concluded that the scheme would further EU energy and environmental objectives without unduly distorting competition in the single market,” the bloc’s executive arm said.

The 28-nation EU has a binding goal to raise the share of renewables in energy consumption to 20 percent in 2020 compared with 1990 levels and 10 percent for transportation. Leaders in the bloc agreed last year to endorse a political objective of boosting the share of renewables to 27 percent by 2030 to help cut carbon-dioxide emissions and reduce Europe’s dependence on imported fossil fuels.

The headline renewables goal for 2020 is based on varying targets for the EU’s member countries, with 13 percent set for the Czech Republic. The central European country reached 12.4 percent in 2013, according to commission data. The projected combined EU share of renewables in energy consumption last year was 15.3 percent.

Renewable energy had a 5.4 percent share of EU transportation usage in 2013, with the Czech Republic on track to meet the 2020 goal. The country introduced mandatory blending of biofuels with fossil fuels in 2007.

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