Stronger Legislation to Help with Rollout of Renewable Energy

The European Union has taken another step towards achieving its renewable energy goals with the provisional agreement reached between the European Parliament and the Council to reinforce the Renewable Energy Directive. This agreement strengthens the EU’s binding renewable energy target for 2030 to a minimum of 42.5%, up from the current 32% target, and almost doubling the existing share of renewable energy in the EU. The objective is to achieve 45% of renewables by 2030, demonstrating the EU’s commitment to gain energy independence and meet the EU’s 55% greenhouse gas emissions reduction target for 2030.

The new law aims to make permitting procedures easier and faster, recognizing renewable energy as an overriding public interest while preserving a high level of environmental protection. Additionally, the agreement includes targets and measures to support the uptake of renewables across various sectors of the economy, including heating and cooling, district heating systems, and industry. For the first time, industry is included in the Renewable Energy Directive, with indicative targets and a binding target to reach 42% of renewable hydrogen in total hydrogen consumption in the industry by 2030. The agreement also reinforces the regulatory framework for renewable energy use in transport, including a sub-target of 5.5% for advanced biofuels and renewable fuels of non-biological origin, supporting the EU’s ambitions on renewable hydrogen roll-out.

The agreement also strengthens the bioenergy sustainability criteria, ensuring that forest biomass is not sourced from certain areas with a particular importance from a biodiversity and carbon stock perspective. The revised Directive includes provisions to ensure that woody biomass is used according to its highest economic and environmental added value, and financial support is banned for energy produced through the use of certain types of biomass.

The European Green Deal is the EU’s long-term growth strategy to make Europe climate-neutral by 2050. The revision of the Renewable Energy Directive is one of the ‘Fit for 55’ proposals presented by the Commission in July 2021 to make the EU’s climate, energy, land use, transport, and taxation policies fit for reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030. The agreement brings the EU closer to becoming the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050 and achieving the REPowerEU Plan, which is the EU’s strategy to reduce its dependence on Russian fossil fuel imports as soon as possible. The new legislation will be published in the Official Journal of the Union and enter into force once it is formally adopted by the European Parliament and the Council.

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