Sustainability criteria for biofuels, bioliquids and biomass fuels
A given set of sustainability criteria that cover the entire production chain of a biofuel, bioliquid or biomass fuel, from feedstock production to end use, shall be fulfilled for it to be considered sustainable in Sweden. To be eligible for tax reductions, fuels must also conform to the EU guidelines on state aid.
The act Sustainability criteria for biofuels, bioliquids and biomass fuels (Lag (2010:598) om hållbarhetskriterier för biodrivmedel och biobränslen) ensures that those biofuels, bioliquids and biomass fuels that are used in Sweden fulfil these criteria, it came into force on 1 October 2010. The legislation has been revised on several occasions to accomodate the ammendments in the renewable energy directive and other adjustments. As of 1 January 2016 the act has been updated to also accommodate the EU guidelines on state aid.
The Swedish legislative framework concerning biofuels and bioliquids is based on the European Directive 2009/28/EC on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources, also known as the RED, and is aimed at suppliers and users of biofuels and bioliquids. The act was updated on 1 July 2021 to include the changes in RED-II (2018/2001), and since then the use of biomass fuels (solid and gaseous biofuels) is included in the framework.
Sweden has chosen to have a national system of sustainability decisions (Hållbarhetsbesked in Swedish), in which the actors that use biofuels for the production of heat, cold and/or electricity, and the actors that deliver biofuels for vehicles have to ensure the sustainability of the fuels that they use. The actors implement a control system, which needs to have checks in place so that the sustainability criteria are followed. An external auditor ensures the control system is functional. The actor notifies the Swedish Energy Agency (SEA) that they are in need of a sustainability decision. The SEA then reviews the application and grants a sustainability decision if the control system is deemed fit for purpose. You can see the sustainability decisions that are active here:
Actors are also allowed to adhere to voluntary schemes that the EU has recognized. In that case, the actor does not need as comprehensive control system for the fuels that are covered by the voluntary scheme.
The actors that are required to have a sustainability decision must report their use of biofuels to the SEA every year (1 April the following year by the latest). The report contains information about the used biofuel/bioliquids/biomass fuels considering amount, raw material, origin, greenhouse gas emissions and more. This data is reported to the EU and is used in Sweden’s official statistics.
Foreign actors can only apply for a sustainability decision in Sweden if they have a Swedish organization number. The application and all communication relating to the decision is to be done in Swedish.