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Dutch implementation of the Renewable Energy Directive, Fuel Quality Directive and Clean Vehicles Directive


Yesterday, 22 March 2011, the Dutch Senate passed the Bill implementing the Renewable Energy Directive (2009/28/EC) in relation to liquid biomass and biofuels, the Fuel Quality Directive (2009/30/EC) and the Clean Vehicles Directive (2009/33/EC).

The Bill implements the directives by amending the Environmental Management Act (Wet Milieubeheer), the Economic Offences Act (Wet op de economische delicten) and the Electricity Act 1998 (Elektriciteitswet 1998). The Bill features the outline of the implementation; the regulations have to be further substantiated in secondary legislation. The Bill provides the government the authority to issue governmental decrees and ministerial regulations for this purpose. These secondary regulations are not yet public but are expected to be published as soon as the Bill enters into force.

The Bill will enter into force the day after publication in the Dutch State Gazette (Staatsblad). The provisions in respect of the sustainability criteria, the information obligations and the registration of biofuels will apply with retroactive effect as of 1 January 2011.

Renewable Energy Directive and Fuel Quality Directive
The Renewable Energy Directive provides for mandatory targets: in 2020 the share of energy from renewable sources in the European Union must be at least 20% (for the Netherlands 14%) and 10% of all transport fuels must be derived from renewable sources. The Fuel Quality Directive provides that fuel suppliers must gradually reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of the fuels they supply, towards an eventual target of 6% reduction in 2020. Biofuels and liquid biomass may only count towards the realisation of these targets if they meet the sustainability criteria as set out in the Renewable Energy Directive and the Fuel Quality Directive. 'Second generation biofuels' (biofuels produced from wastes, residues, non-food cellulosic material and lingo-cellulosic material) may be counted double.

Clean Vehicles Directive
The Clean Vehicles Directive on the promotion of clean and energy efficient road transport vehicles aims at a broad market introduction of environmentally-friendly vehicles. It requires that energy and environmental impacts linked to the operation of vehicles are taken into account in all purchases of road vehicles, as covered by the public procurement directives and the public service regulation.

Dutch Biofuels regulation
The Environmental Management Act will be amended to include a provision that provides for the adoption of a decree that (i) stipulates sustainability criteria for biofuels and (ii) prescribes rules in relation to the information that should be submitted in order to prove that these sustainability criteria are met. Furthermore the Environmental Management Act provides for a special register for fuel suppliers to register their information about supplied biofuels. The Netherlands Emission Authority (NEA) is assigned the task to control this register and the administrative enforcement of the biofuels obligations. Further substantiation regarding the organisation of the register will be set out in a ministerial regulation.

According to the explanatory memorandum to the Bill - amongst others - the following decrees will be amended: the Dutch 2007 Biofuels Road Transport Decree (Besluit biobrandstoffen wegverkeer 2007), the Regulations on Double Counting of Better Biofuels (Regeling dubbeltelling betere brandstoffen) and the Biofuels Road Transport Administration Regulations (Regeling administratie biobrandstoffen wegverkeer). In addition a new governmental decree and ministerial regulation will be issued: the Decree and the Regulation renewable energy for transport (Besluit / Regeling hernieuwbare energie vervoer).

Subsidies for liquid biomass
The explanatory memorandum to the Bill provides that in relation to liquid biomass the application of the sustainability criteria as included in the Renewable Energy Directive will be stimulated through subsidies. Such subsidies can only be obtained for liquid biomass that meets the sustainability criteria.

Although the implementation of the directives seems to be completed, much of the actual implementation still has to be filled in by secondary legislation. As soon as the necessary decrees and regulations have been published more information will be available on the actual implementation of the directives in the Netherlands.


Portrait of Cecilia Weijden
Cecilia van der Weijden
Jacqueline Feld