European Union agrees compromise renewables target of 32%

The European Commission, the EU Parliament and the Council agreed this morning on a package of new rules for renewable energy, including a binding 2030 renewables target of 32%.

The new 2030 renewable energy target for the EU includes a review clause by 2023 for an upward revision. The newly agreed binding level is higher than the previously discussed target of 27%, but is lower than the proposal for a 35% share voted by Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) in January 2018.

The new regulatory framework also gives communities, cooperatives and individuals new rights on self-consumption, removing administrative barriers for the production, consumption, storage and sale of their own renewable energy. The package also includes a phase-out of palm oil from biofuels by 2030, with a freeze of the use of biofuels produced from food and feed crops as from 2020.

The commissioner for climate action and energy, Miguel Arias Canete, called the deal “a hard-won victory in our efforts to unlock the true potential of Europe’s clean energy transition”. He added that he is particularly pleased with the new EU target of 32%.

However, the European branch of grassroots environmental network Friends of the Earth International thinks otherwise.

“EU decision-makers have agreed a paltry 32% target for renewable energy that is inadequate for a climate-safe fossil-free future, and shows a failure to grasp a shifting energy landscape, including rapidly falling renewables costs,” said Molly Walsh, renewable energy campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe.

The campaign group noted though that the new rights won by citizens and communities could prove transformative.

“[…] this gives people an opportunity to drive a transformation of our energy system, surpassing the bleak expectations of these targets,” Walsh added.

No deal was reached when it comes to energy efficiency. Talks to finish discussions on that matter are expected in the coming days.

The text of the directive needs to be formally approved by the European Parliament and the Council in the coming months.