Ministry of Transport and Communications launches a legislative project on national implementation of the EU Regulation on alternative fuels infrastructure
In July 2023, the European Union adopted the outcome of the negotiations on the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR). In the Regulation, there is flexibility in areas that are important for Finland. On 15 August 2023, the Ministry of Transport and Communications decided to launch a legislative project on the matter and start preparations for adopting legislative amendments.
The aim of the Regulation is to promote the transition to the alternative fuels infrastructure on roads and railways and at ports and airports. The Regulation is part of the European Commission’s Fit for 55 Package.
AFIR promotes public distribution infrastructure, Finland successful in the negotiations
The EU adopted binding goals for the publicly accessible infrastructure in terms of charging of passenger cars, vans and heavy-duty vehicles and of refuelling of hydrogen for road transport as well as in terms of liquefied gas to be used in road and maritime transport and of shore-side electricity for air and water transport. The Regulation applies to publicly accessible recharging and refuelling points.
Finland was successful in the negotiations as areas with low traffic volumes have been taken into account in the Regulation, which is important for Finland. The Regulation obliges the Member States to ensure, among other things, the construction of an electric charging infrastructure for passenger cars. For example, Member States must ensure that, by the end of 2025, recharging stations meeting the minimum power requirements need to be deployed every 60 km along the trans-European transport (TEN-T) network. Thanks to flexibility, the requirement of density in the alternative fuels infrastructure network is not as high in areas with low traffic volumes.
The proposal also sets out general technical requirements for recharging and refuelling points, as well as for the availability of information on the infrastructure and services and for the payment methods.
Project lays down provisions on national authorities and sanctions
The purpose of the legislative project is to lay down provisions on the competent national authorities and on sanctions. For example, fair application of the rules concerning the paying for the charging requires supervision. In addition, the project will assess the need for national regulation on the implementation of the requirements for ground-power supply at airports. The government proposal would repeal the current act on the distribution of alternative fuels used for transport.
The national implementation of the other objectives and requirements of the Regulation will be assessed in connection with further projects. The Regulation defines binding targets for Member States to ensure the construction of distribution infrastructure for water and road transport. In addition, the Regulation contains requirements on how to ensure at the national level the availability of information on recharging and refuelling points for alternative fuels.
The final version of the Regulation will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union in autumn 2023 and it will enter into force 20 days after the publication. The Regulation will become applicable six months after its entry into force.
Preparation of the national act will begin at the Ministry of Transport and Communications in cooperation with stakeholders. A consultation round will be held during the preparation process. The government proposal is due to be submitted to Parliament in spring 2024.
Emmi Simonen, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 50 577 6148, [email protected]