EU Energy Council agrees on higher renewables targets

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June 28 (Renewables Now) - The EU Energy Council on Monday agreed to raise the 2030 EU-level target for renewable energy sources in the overall energy mix to 40% from at least 32% now and also endorsed certain sub-targets and faster permitting procedures.

The Council has agreed its position on a revised Renewable Energy Directive (RED) and Energy Efficiency Directive (EED), integrating key elements of the REPowerEU Action Plan. The agreements on the two legislative proposals pave the way for the Council to initiate negotiations with the European Parliament.

The move reflects ​​the so-called “Fit for 55" package that was tabled in mid-2021 with the purpose of aligning the climate and energy legislative framework of the EU with its 2050 climate neutrality goal and with its objective of lowering net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.

When it comes to renewables, the Council has agreed on more ambitious sector-specific measures such as in transport, where member states will be able to pick between binding 2030 targets of 13% greenhouse gas intensity cuts or at least 29% renewable energy within the final consumption of energy. Also in transport, the Council set a binding sub-target of 0.2% in 2022, 1% in 2025 and 4.4 % in 2030 for advanced biofuels in the share of renewable energies supplied to the sector.

For heating and cooling, the Council endorsed a binding increase in renewable targets of 0.8% per year at national level until 2026 and of 1.1% from 2026 to 2030. It also set an indicative target of a 1.1% annual average rise in renewable energy use for industry, while agreeing that 35% of the hydrogen for industrial use should come from renewable fuels of non-biological origin by 2030 and 50% by 2035.

In buildings, the minimum targeted renewables share for 2030 has been set at 49%.

Industry body WindEurope paid particular attention to the Council’s agreement on establishing clear deadlines for the permitting of new renewable energy projects and facilitated permitting of repowerings. For the latter, environmental impact assessments will only be required for the environmental impacts that are additional to the already existing turbines, it pointed out in a statement.

“Europe now wants 510 GW of wind energy by 2030, up from 190 GW today. That’s 39 GW of new wind farms every year. Europe will only achieve that if it speeds up permitting. It’s very good that EU Energy Ministers have now agreed to do precisely that. All new wind farms should be permitted in maximum two years. Governments should ensure this deadline covers all permits, including the environmental impact assessment and grid permits,” commented WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson.

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