The EU Council and Parliament negotiators have on 30 March reached a provisional political agreement to increase the share of renewable energy in the EU’s overall energy consumption to 42.5% by 2030, with an additional 2.5% indicative top-up that would allow reaching 45%. The agreement introduces more ambitious sector-specific targets in transport, industry, buildings, and district heating and cooling.
In the transport sector, the provisional agreement gives member states the option to choose between a binding target of 14.5% reduction of greenhouse gas intensity by the use of renewables or a binding target of at least 29% share of renewables within the final consumption of energy in the sector by 2030. The agreement also sets a binding combined sub-target of 5.5% for advanced biofuels and renewable fuels of non-biological origin (RFNBOs) in the share of renewable energies supplied to the transport sector.
The industry sector will need to increase its use of renewable energy annually by 1.6%. The agreement stipulates that 42% of the hydrogen used in the industry should come from RFNBOs by 2030 and 60% by 2035. It also introduces the possibility for member states to discount the contribution of RFNBOs in industry use by 20% if the member states’ national contribution to the binding overall EU target meets their expected contribution and the share of hydrogen from fossil fuels consumed in the member state is not more than 23% in 2030 and 20% in 2035.
The buildings, heating, and cooling sector has an indicative target of at least a 49% renewable energy share in buildings in 2030. The agreement provides for a gradual increase in renewable targets for heating and cooling, with a binding increase of 0.8% per year at the national level until 2026 and 1.1% from 2026 to 2030. The minimum annual average rate applicable to all member states is complemented with additional indicative increases calculated specifically for each member state.
The agreement strengthens the sustainability criteria for biomass use for energy in order to reduce the risk of unsustainable bioenergy production. It applies a cascading principle to ensure biomass is used according to its highest economic and environmental added value.
It also includes accelerated permitting procedures for renewable energy projects, aiming to fast-track the deployment of renewable energies in the context of the EU’s REPowerEU plan to become independent from Russian fossil fuels after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The provisional political agreement reached on 30 March will first be submitted to the EU member states’ representatives in the Committee of Permanent Representatives in the Council and then to the Parliament for approval.
The directive will then need to be formally adopted by the Parliament and then the Council before being published in the EU’s Official Journal and entering into force.
The proposal to revise the renewable energy directive, along with other proposals, tackles the energy aspects of the EU’s climate transition under the ‘Fit for 55’ package.
The Commission presented the ‘Fit for 55’ package on 14 July 2021. This package aims to align the EU’s climate and energy legislative framework with its 2050 climate neutrality objective and with its objective of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.
In addition, as part of the REPowerEU plan, the Commission proposed on 18 May 2022 a series of additional targeted amendments to the renewable energy directive to reflect the recent changes in the energy landscape. The elements of the proposal were integrated into the agreement found today.
The current renewable energies directive in force since December 2018. It sets an EU-level target of 32% share of renewable energy in the total EU energy consumption by 2030 at EU level.