An ambitious political agreement on increasing renewable energy use in Europe was reached last week between negotiators from the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Council. The new regulatory framework includes a binding renewable energy target for the EU for 2030 of 32% with an upwards revision clause by 2023.
In the course of the negotiations, the European Council moved on from its original target of 27%. The Council tabled two options of 30-31% or 32-33%, each with conditions attached. The Parliament meanwhile made a counter-offer of 34, one percentage point lower than its official position of 35%. The difference between 27% and 35% was said to be 132,000 jobs and €92bn of investments in wind energy alone.
The new binding target of 32% is intended to further contribute to the Commission's political priority for the European Union to become the world number one in renewables. The main points of the agreement are as follows:
- Sets a new, binding, renewable energy target for the EU for 2030 of 32%, including a review clause by 2023 for an upward revision of the EU level target.
- Improves the design and stability of support schemes for renewables.
- Delivers real streamlining and reduction of administrative procedures.
- Establishes a clear and stable regulatory framework on self-consumption.
- Increases the level of ambition for the transport and heating/cooling sectors.
- Improves the sustainability of the use of bioenergy.
Following this political agreement, the text of the updated Renewable Energy Directive will have to be formally approved by the European Parliament and the European Council. Member States will have to transpose the new elements of the Directive into national law 18 months after its entry into force.
Member States will have to agree their own individual national targets that cumulatively will meet the 32% target. This will be a challenge for Ireland. IWEA, the Irish Wind Energy Association is calling on Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten, in setting Ireland’s energy targets for 2030, to aim to provide 70 per cent of Ireland’s electricity through renewables. IWEA demonstrated through the launch in March of its 2030 Energy Vision how it would be possible to provide 70 per cent of Ireland’s electricity through renewables, through an increase from 4,800MW of wind energy generation in 2020 to 10,000MW in 2030, the deployment of 396,000 heat pumps and the roll out of 630,000 electric vehicles in place of petrol/diesel cars, all by 2030! It certainly will be a challenge for Ireland.