TEN-T Progress Report: Alt-Fuels Development Better Positioned

| Europe, Brussels

EC LogoThe European Commission has published it’s Progress Report on implementation of the trans-European transport network (TEN-T) in 2014-2015, delivered to the European Parliament, the Council, and associated committees. As part of its overarching mandate, the TEN-T policy paves the way for the future of the transport system, notably through facilities that stimulate low-emission solutions, new-generation service concepts and other fields of technological innovation.

As of January 2014, the European Union began working with a new transport infrastructure policy that connects the continent between East and West, North and South. “Core network corridors” were introduced to facilitate the coordinated implementation of the core network, bring together public and private resources and concentrate EU support from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) for Transport, the funding instrument to realise European transport infrastructure policy. Included in this project’s aims is the facilitation of clean fuel infrastructure and promotion of alternative fuels technologies.

Although the Progress Report states “the ‘blueprint’ for a new transport infrastructure network which incorporates all transport modes – railways, inland waterways, roads, ports, airports and other transport systems – as well as equipment for innovative alternative fuels and intelligent transport solutions has been reinforced considerably in the last years”, no information on the availability of clean fuels is currently available in TENtec as the data availability is limited and a common approach across Member States and providers is lacking. (TENtec is the European Commission’s Information System to coordinate and support the TEN-T).

The CEF programme has been fundamental to support the development of CNG and LNG infrastructure in Europe, both in road and maritime projects. Between 2014 and 2015 more than 18 projects were approved with a total EU budget of nearly €100 million (USD 112m) to develop the CNG and LNG infrastructure in European roads. This triggered an additional investment form the industry of about €110 million. Many countries such as Ireland and Romania were able to kick off CNG infrastructure thanks to this support, and the LNG refueling stations network is now part of the different EU corridors. Also, the programme “Motorways of the Sea” (under CEF) was granted nearly €20 million of EU funds.

“In the framework of the Alternative Fuels Directive 2014/94/EU, the Commission is however currently analysing the national policy frameworks for the market development of alternative fuels and their infrastructure. In addition, the Commission financed a study on “clean power for transport infrastructure deployment” which results have recently been presented. More detailed information is expected to be presented in the second progress report.”  The results of this analysis will be known on November 2017, together with the publication of the national plans.

Specifically, the TEN-T update states that for the project component “Availability of Clean Fuels”:

  • Number of fuel stations offering plugin electricity, hydrogen, liquid biofuels, LNG/CNG, bio-methane or LPG along road sections or within 10km from its junctions (units in absolute number, not %) — Data availability is currently limited. Member States have to deliver their annual plans for the deployment of clean fuels infrastructure. This exercise is still ongoing. 
  • Number of ports offering (at least one of) LPG, LNG, liquid biofuels, or synthetic fuels as a proportion (%) of the total number of core and comprehensive ports — Data collection ongoing through TENtec study (Lot 2)

The TEN-T Progress Report is available by clicking here.

Study: Clean power for transport infrastructure deployment

There are multiple recommendations in the Study that seek to stimulate a speedier introduction and higher uptake of alternative fuel technologies.

The summary states: “To date the roll out of alternative fuel recharging and refuelling infrastructure has been patchy, with many projects funded or part-funded by the public sector through EU grant schemes such as CEF and H2020, and few – if any – truly commercial deployments/operations.”

The study emphasises the importance of central coordination, currently lacking, but until such time as that is put in place by the European Commission the study says there are steps that can be taken at all levels to increase the likelihood of goals being met. Immediate steps include:

  • TEN-T corridor coordinators to identify priorities (by fuel type and by location) in each TEN-T corridor for project development
  • Member State stakeholders to identify and coordinate fuel infrastructure developments with local and regional bodies and fleet operators, facilitating adoption through incentives where necessary
  • Provision of funding/financing instruments by public sector stakeholders that will be required if full alternative fuel mobility on the TEN-T corridors is to be achieved as a lead in to commercially sustainable business

Recommended actions up to 2020 include developing appropriate funding and financing packages to support nodes model development for CNG and LNG and other alt-fuels.

For 2020-2030, key actions include taking development for alt-fuels from the Nodes model deployment to full TEN-T corridor mobility.

NGVA Europe states the need to create specific budget for the rollout of alternative fuels in Europe, with a dedicated part to gas and renewable gas refueling infrastructure to be included as part of the post 2020 budged programme.

The full text of the Study is available by clicking here.

(Source: European Commission. This article was prepared with the assistance of NGVA Europe.)

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