The European Commission has proposed a target of at least 40% for renewables in the bloc's final energy demand by 2030 in a revised Renewable Energy Directive (RED), Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson said July 14 in a Brussels press briefing.
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The revision is part of an ambitious package of initiatives, Fit for 55, that seeks to deliver a 55% cut in net greenhouse gas emissions on 1990 levels by 2030.
"We need an unprecedented transformation this decade. The steady evolution of renewables must become a revolution, and with this revision we are making that possible," Simson said.
The current RED II directive, updated in 2018, aims for a 32% share of renewables by 2030. Raising the target to at least 40% means roughly doubling renewables' current 20% share of the bloc's final energy demand.
"Member States shall collectively ensure that the share of energy from renewable sources in the Union's gross final consumption of energy in 2030 is at least 40%," the EC's proposed text said.
Increased ambition in heating and cooling sectors was vital in delivering the overall renewable energy target, heating and cooling constituting around half of the EU's energy consumption, the draft said.
"To accelerate the increase of renewables in heating and cooling, an annual 1.1 percentage point increase at Member State level should be made binding as a minimum for all Member States," it said.
In district heating and cooling, the target should be raised from 1 percentage point to 2.1 percentage point, it said.
Meanwhile Member States would have to set an indicative target of at least 49% for the share of renewables in buildings' energy consumption by 2030.
On permitting, seen as a key aspect of the revision, Member States are to report by March 15, 2023 on progress made by national energy and climate plans to streamline procedures.
If significant scope for improvement remains, the Commission would then have the power to take "appropriate measures to ensure Member States have streamlined and efficient administrative procedures in place", the draft text said.
On guarantees of origin, the text removes the right of Member States to withhold allocation to renewable producers that benefit from financial support.
The new wording requires them to "ensure that a guarantee of origin is issued in response to a request from a producer of energy from renewable sources."
On green fuels, unspecified benchmarks are to be applied to drive industry to switch to renewables-based production processes "that not only are fueled by renewable energy, but also use renewable-based raw materials such as renewable hydrogen."
To ensure a more efficient use of bioenergy, from 2026 Member States "should not give support anymore to electricity-only" biomass plants, unless they use carbon capture and storage.
Finally in offshore wind, Member States should "jointly define the amount of offshore renewable generation to be deployed within each sea basin by 2050, with intermediate steps in 2030 and 2040," the text said.
The EU's Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy has an ambitious objective of 300 GW of offshore wind and 40 GW of ocean energy across all the Union's sea basins by 2050.
"These objectives should be reflected in the updated national energy and climate plans that will be submitted in 2023 and 2024 pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2018/1999," the EC said.