UPDATE - MEPs can start negotiating binding EU renewable targets

Author: Roland Peschetz. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic

January 18 (Renewables Now) - Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are about to start discussions with EU ministers about setting binding targets tied to energy efficiency and renewables through 2030.

Negotiations with the Council can start immediately, an official announcement says.

Yesterday, MEPs voted for a minimum 35% share of energy from renewable sources in the EU's gross final consumption of energy in 2030. This is a more ambitious goal compared to the one proposed by the European Commission for a renewables share of at least 27%.

The legislation, which was adopted with 492 votes in favour, 88 against and 107 abstentions, also calls for national targets to be set, with member states being allowed to deviate by up to 10% under certain conditions.

“The European Commission was too timid in its proposal. If Europe wants to fulfil its Paris commitments, to fight climate change and to lead the energy transition, we need to do more,” said Jose Blanco Lopez of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D), rapporteur for renewables.

MEPs are also paying special attention to the use of biomass for energy generation. They want the unsustainable use of biomass for that purpose to be discouraged by support schemes to avoid the release of carbon captured in wood when burned for heating. Instead, wood wastes and residues should be used.

The Parliament also seeks to eliminate existing barriers to consuming energy produced on the consumer’s own premises. It wants to ensure that own consumption and the use of energy storage would not be discouraged by any charges, fees or taxes.

Separately, MEPs voted in favour of a minimum 35% binding EU target and indicative national ones for energy efficiency. This draft law was cleared by 485 votes to 132, with 58 abstentions.

When it comes to transport, member states should make sure that in 2030 about 12% of the energy consumed for transportation purposes comes from renewables. The contribution of biofuels made from food and feed crops should be capped to 2017 levels and up to 7% in road and rail transport. At the same time, the use of palm oil is proposed to be disallowed from 2021. Advanced biofuels should account for at least 1.5% in 2021 and 10% in 2030.

Moreover, 90% of the fuel stations along the roads of the Trans-European Networks should have recharging points for electric vehicles (EVs) by 2022.

By January 1, 2019, and every ten years thereafter, every member state will be required to submit an integrated national energy and climate plan to the EC. They should start with one for the period from 2021 to 2030.

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