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European Parliament votes in plenary session to raise renewable energy to 45% by 2030

Members of the European Parliament voted in plenary session Sept. 14 to raise the share of renewables in the EU’s final energy consumption to 45 percent by 2030, under the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive—a target also backed by the European Commission under its RepowerEU package.

The legislation also defines sub-targets for sectors such as transport, buildings, and district heating and cooling. In the transport sector, deploying renewables should lead to a 16 percent reduction in greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions through the use of higher shares of advanced biofuels and a more ambitious quota for renewable fuels of nonbiological origin, such as hydrogen. Industry should boost its use of renewables by 1.9 percentage points per year, and district heating networks by 2.3 points.

Each member state will have to develop two cross-border projects for the expansion of green electricity. Member states with an annual electricity consumption of more than 100 TWh will have to develop a third one by 2030.

MEPs also adopted amendments calling for phasing down the share of primary wood counted as renewable energy.

The text was adopted with 418 votes in favor, 109 against and 111 abstentions.

In a separate vote Sept. 14, MEPs backed the revision of the Energy Efficiency Directive, the law that sets energy-saving targets in both primary and final energy consumption in the EU.

MEPs raised the EU target for reducing final and primary energy consumption, so that member states must collectively ensure final energy consumption is reduced by at least 40 percent by 2030 and 42.5 percent in primary energy consumption compared to 2007 projections. This corresponds to 740 and 960 million metric tons of oil equivalent for final and primary energy consumption, respectively. Member states should set binding national contributions to achieve these targets.

The targets will be met through measures at local, regional, national and European levels, in different sectors (e.g., public administration, buildings, businesses, data centers).

The text was adopted with 469 votes in favor, 93 against and 82 abstentions.

“Only the expansion of renewable energy means true independence,” said Markus Pieper of Germany, lead MEP on the renewable energy directive. “We strongly support the increased 2030 target of 45 percent. We confirm the need for more cross-border cooperation to expand renewable energy deployment and call for a diversified import strategy for hydrogen. We have also raised the requirements for the sustainability of biomass and fuels, and showed ways in which biogenic materials can make a real economic contribution to the energy transition.”

Niels Fuglsang of Denmark, rapporteur on the energy efficiency directive, said, “We are in a crisis where Putin is shutting off gas. One of our most effective answers to this is energy efficiency. It is crucial Parliament has today voted for ambitious and binding energy-efficiency targets for the EU and for individual member states.”

MEPs and the Czech Presidency of the Council will now enter into negotiations on the files, on which EU ministers have set their position in June.

On July 14, 2021, the European Commission adopted the “Fit for 55” package, adapting existing climate and energy legislation to meet the new EU objective of a minimum 55 percent reduction in GHG emissions by 2030. One element of the package is the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED II), which will help the EU deliver the new 55 percent GHG target. Under RED II currently in force, the EU is obliged to ensure at least 32 percent of its energy consumption comes from renewable energy sources by 2030.

The “Fit for 55” package also includes the recast of the Energy Efficiency Directive, aligning its provisions to the new 55 percent GHG target. The EED currently sets out the level of energy savings the EU needs to make to meet the agreed goal of 32.5 percent energy-efficiency improvements by 2030.



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