European Council and Parliament reach provisional deal on renewable energy directive

The Council and the Parliament negotiators this week reached a provisional political agreement to raise 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 to reach 45%. Each member state will contribute to this common target. This provisional political agreement will now need to be endorsed by both institutions.

This deal brings the EU one step closer to completing the “Fit for 55” legislation to deliver the European Green Deal and the REPowerEU objectives.

The Council and Parliament negotiators provisionally agreed on more ambitious sector-specific targets in transport, industry, buildings and district heating and cooling. The purpose of the sub-targets is to speed-up the integration of renewables in sectors where incorporation has been slower.

Transport

The provisional agreement gives the possibility for member states to choose between:

  • a binding target of 14.5% reduction of greenhouse gas intensity in transport from the use of renewables by 2030
  • or a binding share of at least 29% of renewables within the final consumption of energy in the transport sector by 2030

The provisional agreement sets a binding combined sub-target of 5.5% for advanced biofuels (generally derived from non-food-based feedstocks) and renewable fuels of non-biological origin (mostly renewable hydrogen and hydrogen-based synthetic fuels) in the share of renewable energies supplied to the transport sector. Within this target, there is a minimum requirement of 1% of renewable fuels of non-biological origin (RFNBOs) in the share of renewable energies supplied to the transport sector in 2030.

Industry

The provisional agreement provides that industry would increase their use of renewable energy annually by 1.6%. They agreed that 42% of the hydrogen used in industry should come from renewable fuels of non-biological origin (RFNBOs) by 2030 and 60% by 2035.

The agreement introduces the possibility for member states to discount the contribution of RFNBOs in industry use by 20% under two conditions:

  • if the member states’ national contribution to the binding overall EU target meets their expected contribution
  • the share of hydrogen from fossil fuels consumed in the member state is not more 23% in 2030 and 20% in 2035

Buildings, heating and cooling

The provisional agreement sets an indicative target of at least a 49% renewable energy share in buildings in 2030.

It provides for a gradual increase in renewable targets for heating and cooling, with a binding increase of 0.8% per year at 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.

Bioenergy

The provisional agreement strengthens the sustainability criteria for biomass use for energy, in order to reduce the risk of unsustainable bioenergy production. It ensures the application of the cascading principle, with a focus on support schemes and with due regard to national specificities.

Faster permits for projects

The provisional agreement includes accelerated permitting procedures for renewable energy projects. The purpose is 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.

Member states will design renewables acceleration areas where renewable energy projects would undergo simplified and fast permit-granting process. Renewable energy deployment will also be presumed to be of ‘overriding public interest’, which would limit the grounds of legal objections to new installations.

Next steps

The provisional political agreement reached today will first be submitted to the EU member states’ representatives in the Committee of Permanent Representatives in the Council and then in 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 enter into force.

Background

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 is 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.

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