The European Parliament and European Council have agreed on a binding target for 32% of energy use to come from renewable resources in the European Union by 2030, following more than a year and a half of negotiation.

The target is 3% less than the European Parliament had fought for, but was agreed with a concession that the target could be reviewed and revised in 2023 if there are substantial cost reductions in renewable energy technologies, or if it is deemed necessary in order to meet international climate change obligations.

Although less that the Parliament had aimed for, the legislation was strengthened substantially in the final agreement compared to the European Commission’s initial proposal, which was for a binding 27% target. Although the 32% target is binding on the EU as a whole, there are no national targets, and enforcement will depend on the Energy Union Regulation which is currently being negotiated.

The legislation also gives greater power to citizens for self-generation and consumption of electricity, with ‘renewable energy communities’ and ‘households with renewable installations’, both being defined for the first time and given new rights. The directive also ensures that renewable energy communities are taken into account in renewable energy support schemes.

Within the 32% target, a 14% target has been set for the transport sector, where member states will no longer subsidise first-generation biofuels (derived from crops), whilst biofuels made from soybeans and palm oil will be capped at 2019 levels, and phased out from 2023 onwards. The agreement also sets the first ever European target for advanced (non-crop) biofuels of 3.5% by 2030.

Following official rubberstamping by the Council and Parliament the revised Renewable Energy Directive will enter into force 20 days after publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

For more information, see the European Commission Statement, ‘Europe leads the global clean energy transition’.