The Slovenia Times

Differences remain over alternative fuels infrastructure in EU

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Brdo pri Kranju - EU transport ministers discussed infrastructure for alternative fuels at Brdo on Thursday with Slovenia's Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec noting there were quite a few differences between the countries on the issue, but the "essential thing is not to lose the primary momentum and to keep the required level of ambition".

Vrtovec said the ministers had "very good discussion" on alternative fuels in transport, and they also touched on the Fit for 55 climate and energy package, which he said would have to be examined horizontally being that it includes many interlinked mechanisms for transition.

The ministers also conducted the first political discussion on the proposal of a new directive on alternative fuels infrastructure, where he said there were quite a few differences between member states for the time being.

"Differences related to national specifics will have to be taken into consideration as well as different starting points of member states," said Vrtovec, highlighting financing as the key issue.

"Large investments are needed both at the national and European levels. A technology-neutral approach will have to be retained, at least in the segments that we don't have all answers yet," he said.

He also mentioned many pilot and demonstration projects needed before the technologies will be ready for mass rollout.

The private sector would be vital to investments, but there would be no quick progress without at least initial public funding. "For private financing we need to provide clear goals and a stable and predictable environment."

He said the biggest challenges would be in the fields of heavy vehicles, aviation and maritime transport.

To meet emission goals investments would have to be redirected and major structural change would be required along with supply-demand coordination between vehicle producers, energy produces and investors in charging infrastructure. Vrtovec also noted the need for cross-border cooperation.

European Transport Commissioner Adina Valean was happy that the countries recognised suitable charging infrastructure is needed for the EU move to an emission-free future.

Considering the growing EV market, she said the infrastructure must be ready. In putting it in place, the Commission proposes a combination of short- and long-term goals to enable drivers to ride their electric vehicles without having to worry where they would charge them.

"The Slovenian presidency will continue with the discussion of the material on the Council of the EU and work to achieve as much progress as possible, possibly clinching an agreement as early as the December session of the Transport Council," said Vrtovec.


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