TALLINN - The Estonian Ministry of the Environment is about to introduce a requirement shortly for the public sector and state-owned companies to purchase only green buses, transport vehicles and cars.
The planned regulation, on which the ministry is currently awaiting feedback from stakeholders, would oblige public sector and state-owned contracting authorities to take into account the lifetime energy and environmental impact of a road vehicle or service, including energy consumption and CO2 and pollutant emissions, when awarding public contracts for road transport vehicles.
The regulation would also cover services, such as public road transport services, special-purpose road passenger transport services, non-scheduled passenger transport services, as well as specific postal and parcel services and waste collection services.
Minister of the Environment Erki Savisaar said in a press release that the regulation should give a boost to the market for environmentally friendly and energy efficient road vehicles, increase the transport sector's contribution to Estonia's climate and energy policy, promote the deployment of local renewable transport fuels such as biogas and biomethane, and accelerate the deployment of green hydrogen.
"Thereby we will promote the wider use of passenger cars, transport vehicles and buses with low energy consumption and low carbon dioxide and other pollutant emissions, giving the necessary impetus to innovation and the development of new technologies in the production of fuels as well as in the development of infrastructure," the minister said.
The regulation is expected to increase demand for green fuels, as biomethane and biogas produced from local raw materials, as well as hydrogen, could be used successfully in public transport. At the same time, it would also help solve other environmental problems and support the circular economy and the move towards climate neutrality, said Savisaar.
Biomethane and biogas can also be used in other sectors, such as heat production, and the infrastructure needed to transport them could later be used in the transition to hydrogen.
"This is clearly a sector that increases local competitiveness and provides jobs," the minister noted.
According to market forecasts, the purchase price of environmentally friendly road vehicles will continue to fall. Lower operating and maintenance costs make the total cost of ownership of such vehicles competitive already now. The expected fall in prices will further reduce barriers to market uptake and deployment of clean road vehicles in the coming decade, the Ministry of the Environment said in the press release.