In the Netherlands the transport sector is presently responsible for over 20% of CO2 emissions, a share not expected to decline in the coming years. Against this background CE conducted an exploratory policy study on sustainable road transport for NOVEM, the Netherlands Agency for Energy and the Environment. Three forms of energy source were examined: biofuels, sustainably produced hydrogen and sustainably generated electricity, assessing their short and long term potential as a substitute for fossil motor fuels, as well as their policy feasibility in the Dutch setting.
In the short term biofuels and electrically powered vehicles appear to be the most promising alternatives. In the long term, however, it is not entirely clear which of the three options considered has the best credentials. Whether these options should be implemented from the angle of climate policy depends, moreover, on the potential CO2 reductions thus achieved and on alternative uses of available sustainable energy capacity.
This exploratory study concludes with several recommendations for Dutch policy makers. For the time being the main aim should be to draw up an optimum response to the European Commission’s proposed incentives for biofuels. In the longer term policy makers should exercise due caution in designing ‘green’ road transport policies, because of the uncertainties identified. Appropriate safeguards should also be developed to ensure that any switch to alternative energy sources has minimum unintended impact. Sustainable transport policies should also give proper consideration to the energy needs of other economic sectors, seeking to achieve optimal overall allocation of finite renewable energy resources?