Energy: new target of 32% from renewables by 2030 agreed by MEPs and ministers

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© European Communities , 2007 / Photo: Emmanuel Sarver

This article is brought to you in association with the European Parliament.

New EU ambitious targets for renewables, including self-consumption and biofuels, were agreed by Parliament and Council negotiators on Wednesday night.

Parliament and Council provisionally agreed on a share of energy from renewables of at least 32% of the Union’s gross final consumption in 2030, with an upwards revision clause by 2023.

The two co-legislators decided to implement the “energy-efficiency first” principle, meaning prioritising, in all energy planning, policy and investment decisions, measures to make energy demand and supply more efficient.

Cleaner transports, greater use of second-generation biofuels

A minimum share of at least 14% of fuel for transport purposes must come from renewable sources by 2030. In particular:

  • first generation biofuel, based on food crops, must be capped at 2020 levels (with an extra 1%) and in no case exceed 7% of final consumption of road and rail transport;
  • the share of advanced biofuels and biogas must be at least 1% in 2025 and at least 3,5% in 2030.

Palm oil ban 

Food-crop biofuels like palm oil, which have a high “indirect land use change” (ILUC, i.e. changing how land from non-crop cultivation, such as grasslands and forests, with a negative impact on CO2 emissions, is used), will be phased out through a certification process for low ILUC biofuels, which is to be set up. 

Renewable Self-Consumer Era

According the provisional deal, member states must ensure that an EU consumer is entitled to become a renewable self-consumer, who may:

  • generate renewable energy for their own consumption, store and sell excess production;
  • install and operate electricity storage systems combined with installations generating renewable electricity for self-consumption, without liability for any double charge;
  • not to be subject to any charge or fee on self-consumed energy until 2026, with some limited exceptions foreseen thereafter;
  • receive remuneration for the self-generated renewable electricity they feed into the grid;
  • join renewable energy communities to integrate self-consumption into the transition to cleaner energy.

Clean and digital heating/cooling sector

 The provisional deal provides a sub-target of an indicative 1,3% yearly increase of renewables in heating and cooling installations, calculated on a period of 5 years starting from 2021.

Member states must ensure that information on energy performance and the share of renewables in their district heating and cooling systems is provided to final consumers in an accessible manner. Customers of district heating or cooling systems that are not efficient are allowed to terminate their contracts in order to produce heating or cooling from renewable energy sources themselves.

Quotes

The rapporteur for renewables José Blanco López (S&D, ES) said: “We have substantially improved the initial proposal and we finally managed to reach a compromise on a binding target of 32% of renewables in the energy mix 2030. For the first time, we have put in place a consistent strategy. We disincentivised investments in new production of food crop-based biofuels and we have pushed for the development and use of advanced biofuels”.

“We also managed to strengthen self-consumption as a right, and included the Parliament’s wish for a ban on charges and fees on self-consumed energy until 2026. The new directive will bring security and certainty to investors and will simplify the administrative procedures for renewable energy projects”.

The rapporteur for the Environment committee, Bas Eickhout (Greens/EFA, NL), said: “This final outcome sends a clear signal to the energy sector; investors know where the EU is going. In addition, there will soon be a revision to bring the legislation into line with the Paris Agreement. We are also creating a number of conditions that will make it more attractive for households and groups of households to generate their own energy”.

“So far, EU countries have refused to admit anything, but the planned phasing out of palm oil is a real gain (…) The fact that the European Commission has not yet reached a full agreement and still wants to be able to block the deal shows how great the impact of this legislation is”, he added.

Next steps

The provisional deal now needs the approval of both EU ministers and MEPs. Once this is achieved, the law will enter into force 20 days after the date of publication in the EU’s Official Journal. Member states will have to include the new elements of the Directive into national law by 30 June 2021.

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