California Pushes for Waste-to-Energy, While Europe Looks to Drastically Alter the RED

By Erin Voegele | October 04, 2012

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is setting a positive example for metropolitan areas all around our nation. The board recently voted in favor of a motion that directs various agencies and officials in the country to actively advocate for the development of technologies and projects that convert landfill waste materials into fuel and energy.

I’m glad to see representatives of one of country’s largest metropolitan areas take the initiative to support the goal of waste-to-energy.

While California is often regarded as a frontrunner in environmental policy, the state’s many regulations often make project development and permitting nearly impossible. I think it’s great that the board of supervisors seems to recognize this issue, and actively working to alter state policy to ensure that environmentally beneficial projects don’t get buried under regulations that were actually developed to protect the environment.

I hope the board of commissioners is successful. And, I hope their action will serve as a model for other major metropolitan areas to follow.

Meanwhile, in Europe, several bioenergy and biofuel organizations have spoken out to criticize the European Commission’s expected move to alter the Renewable Energy Directive. A preliminary proposal was recently leaked. I haven’t been able to access a copy, however based on information the commission shared with Biomass Magazine, early indications were that the major change would involve capping crop-based biofuels at roughly their current production levels, and providing greater incentives for advanced biofuel production.

However, it seems that there could be far more significant changes than that coming down the pipe.

Reports indicate that a new indirect land use change accounting method would also be introduced into the RED, along with an end to subsidies for crop-based biofuels. All of these possible changes could negatively impact fuel producers around the world that export product to the E.U.

The European Commission is expected to release an official version of the proposed RED changes this month. We’ll be watching to see what it actually includes.