One of the main planks of the EU’s renewable energy directive (RED) is a requirement to ensure that, by 2020, 10% of the energy used in transport within each Member State comes from renewable sources. In Ireland, the main policy initiative for achieving this target is the biofuels obligation scheme (BOS). This scheme obliges oil suppliers and large oil consumers to ensure that a specific percentage of their sales or use of road transport fuel is biofuel. The National Oil Reserves Agency (NORA) is responsible for administering the BOS.
In 2010, NORA appointed a consortium of Byrne Ó Cléirigh and LHM-Casey McGrath to act as project managers to support the Agency in the initial setting up of the BOS, and its subsequent administration until 2015. The same consortium, which is led by Byrne Ó Cleirigh, was subsequently appointed to continue the development and administration of the scheme out to 2020.
Our work has included:
- Developing systems, processes and procedures, including IT.
- Assistance with the drafting of legislation for compliance with the sustainability criteria of the RED.
- Setting up Ireland’s scheme for demonstrating compliance with the carbon and sustainability criteria of the RED.
- Determination of eligibility of specific wastes for double BOS certificates.
- Determination of gas-to-liquid conversion factors for biofuels not in liquid form.
- Setting up and maintenance of accounts where the BOS certificates are held.
- Development of an online system for receiving and checking applications for BOS certificates.
- Awarding, transferring, cancelling & revoking BOS certificates and facilitating trade in certificates amongst participants.
- Provision of online platform for participants to view their certificate balances.
- Monitoring and reporting to Government on compliance with BOS obligation.
- Technical & financial auditing of BOS participants on a selected basis.
- Liaison with other EU States through participation in REFUREC.
- Drafting and publishing guidance manuals on BOS operations.
- Maintaining a helpdesk for stakeholders; publishing an FAQ.
- Provision of training for NORA staff and BOS participants and awareness sessions for other key stakeholders.
- Advising indigenous biofuel producers on processing and compliance issues.
The scheme operates though the issuing of biofuel obligation certificates to the obligated parties provided they pay a biofuel levy (currently €0.02 per litre). Biofuel producers may also participate in the scheme. One certificate is awarded for every litre of biofuel and two certificates are awarded where it can be demonstrated that the biofuel was manufactured from a waste or residue. At the end of the year, each obligated party is required to surrender sufficient BOS certificates to meet its obligation. Surplus BOS certificates can be traded between the companies participating in the scheme. A buy-out charge of €0.45 per litre is payable at the year-end if a company does not surrender sufficient certificates. Additional details of how the BOS operates are available from the NORA website.