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Background on the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation 


The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) places a current obligation on suppliers of mineral oil in 2024 to ensure that 21% (by energy content) of the motor fuel (gasoline and motor diesel) they place on the market in Ireland is renewable, e.g. bioethanol or biodiesel.  The 2023 obligation was set at 16.985% (by energy content).  The RTFO was previously the Biofuel Obligation Scheme (BOS).  SI 350 of 2022 (The Renewable Energy Regulations), which transposed the recast Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) into Irish law, changed the BOS to the RTFO.  The RTFO includes an additional obligation for ‘advanced biofuels’ and a cap on fuels produced from food and feed crops. The advanced biofuel obligation for 2024 is 1% (by energy content).

Under the terms of the National Oil Reserves Agency Act 2007 (Returns and Biofuel Levy) Regulations 2010, a Biofuel Levy, currently 0.1 euro cent per litre, is payable on the sales of all renewable transport fuels in Ireland. NORA administers compliance with the RTFO, and with the requirements of SI 160, which obligates fuel suppliers to reduce the carbon intensity of transport fuels by 6% by 2020.

In the period up to and including 2020, Article 3 of the Renewable Energy Directive set out mandatory national overall targets and measures for the use of energy from renewable sources for all EU Member States. Ireland’s target for the share of its gross final consumption of energy to come from renewable sources, by 2020, was 16%.  It was in the context of this requirement that Ireland implemented the BOS, which was given effect in law by the Energy (Biofuel Obligation and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2010.  The Scheme was one aspect of a twin approach in meeting the EU target for the use of renewable energy in transport; the second was to encourage the accelerated development and usage of electric vehicles.

Under this legislation, The National Oil Reserves Agency (NORA) was the body charged with administering the BOS.  

NORA incorporated compliance with SI 160 into the BOS in 2017.  SI 160 of 2017 transposed Article 7(a) of the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD), which introduced a requirement on fuel suppliers to reduce the carbon intensity of the fuel supplied to road vehicles and non-road mobile machinery (NRMM) by 6%.


The recast Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) accelerates the take-up of renewables in the EU, to help reach the 2030 energy and climate objectives.  RED II sets the overarching European target for renewable energy and includes rules to ensure the uptake of renewables in the transport sector, and in heating and cooling, as well as common principles and rules for renewable support schemes (such as Ireland’s RTFO).


In addition, Ireland’s Climate Action Plan sets an E10 (gasoline with 10% bioethanol blend) and B20 (diesel with 20% biodiesel/HVO blend) target to be met by 2030. Achieving these targets is being managed via the RTFO.

Following an open tendering process, a consortium of Byrne Ó Cléirigh and Evelyn Partners was appointed to assist NORA with implementing and administering the RTFO.

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