19 September 2005

Slovenian Unable to Produce Sufficient Amounts of Biofuels

A senior Environment Ministry official has said that the main reason why Slovenia will fail to meet the EU quotas for the use of biofuels lie in the fact that it does not have sufficient amounts of oil rape to produce the required volumes of biodiesel.

Radovan Tavzes, the head of the environment directorate general at the Environment Ministry, said on Tuesday, 13 September that Slovenia has sent a report on the use of biofuels in transport to Brussels, in which it says that it will not meet the reference values for biofuel content.

While the reference values (calculated as energy value) are set at 2% for this year and 5.75% until 2010, Slovenia has made the commitment to raise the share to 1.2% by the end of next year, increasing it by one percentage point a year to reach 5% in 2010, according to Tavzes.

According to Tavzes, the Agriculture Ministry has calculated that oil rape could potentially be grown on up to 7,000 hectares in Slovenia; the actual amount, though, will be 2,500 hectares in 2006 and 3,500 hectares in 2010.

“We can consider it as a success if we produce between 30% and 40% of the required biofuel from own sources until 2010,” Tavzes said, labelling the situation as “a challenge for our agriculture.”

This problem is further augmented by the fact that diesel will account for between 55% and 60% of the market for transport fuels.

Mixing biofuels into regular petrol raises another set of problems: Slovenia has no own production facilities, so petrols with the appropriate content of biofuel will have to be imported.

According to Tavzes, biofuels will also have to be tackled at the level of petrol tax, as the petrol tax act does not stipulate any tax relief for fuels containing biofuels.

According to the relevant directive, a country which cannot meet the targets for biofuel content can compensate with the production of electricity from other biofuels.

“We have placed the emphasis on the use of methane produced in decomposition of plant waste. There are quite a few biogas production facilities up and running,” he said.

Source: Slovenia Business Week Sept. 19, 2005.

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