Alternative Fuels Infrastructure
The first few months of 2020 were busy for alternative fuel infrastructure policy. As well as the opening of the evaluation on the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive, the Energy Taxation Directive was similarly opened for evaluation and a new piece of legislation encouraging alternative fuels demand was announced. EFIP also made contact with the project managers of the Commission’s ‘European Alternative Fuels Observatory’ (EAFO) to support the Commission’s project in creating a comprehensive database of alternative fuels infrastructure locations.
After two consultations with the Environment and Sustainability Committee, EFIP published its Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Position Paper on 26 March. Members coalesced around the need to end specific targets per fuel, to be replaced with a goal-based approach in line with the European Green Deal aims. In this vein, EFIP proposed a goal of zero-emissions for vessels at berth by 2030 to demonstrate inland ports’ support for the green transition. EFIP’s position also underlined the need to coordinate action up from regional levels through roadmaps, to be coordinated on the European level, to ensure clarity and progress for stakeholders while avoided disharmony between river corridors. EFIP also reiterated its call for the ADN treaty to be revised to facilitate alternative fuels uptake and for alternative fuels infrastructure to be actively support by European funding instruments. Finally, EFIP argued for a decoupling of maritime and inland waterway transport in the legislation.
In a separate evaluation, EFIP took the opportunity to repeat its call for the Energy Taxation Directive to be revised, as a significant impediment to the achievement of European Green Deal aims. Pointing to the backward price signals consequent of the legislation, EFIP called for a permanent tax exemption for alternative fuels and Onshore Power Supply (OPS).
The EFIP Secretariat has been happy to increase its support of the Commission through the EAFO project. We thank those members who have so far provided details of their alternative fuels infrastructure, and encourage other members to provide input if they have not already done so. This should prove a good opportunity to demonstrate the important role of inland ports as energy hubs.
EFIP looks forward to the next steps of Alternative Fuels Infrastructure policy, particularly regarding the FuelEU Maritime legislation. The Commission, while so-far reticent in revealing concrete detail, seek to use this legislative action to push alternative fuels infrastructure from the demand-side (to complement the supply-side measures of AFID). Finally, EFIP hopes there will be no significant delay in the legislative process, or any dilution in the legislative ambition related to alternative fuels infrastructure in the near future.