The Council of the European Union (European Council) has adopted the new Renewable Energy Directive (RED III) to raise the share of renewable energy in the EU’s overall energy consumption to 42.5 percent by 2030 with an additional 2.5 percent indicative top-up that would allow to reach 45 percent.
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The new Directive adopted by the Council of the European Union – the final part of the interinstitutional negotiations process – will amend the current Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) which has been in force since December 2018 and legally binding since June 2021.
RED II set an EU-level target of 32 percent share of renewable energy in the total EU energy consumption by 2030 at the EU level.
Member States will now contribute to achieving more ambitious sector-specific targets in transport, industry, buildings, and district heating and cooling. The purpose of the sub-targets is to speed up the integration of renewables in sectors where incorporation has been slower.
The changes will become legally binding 18 months after its entry into force (20 days after publication in the EU’s Official Journal) during which time Member states will have to transpose it into national legislation.
This is a great achievement in the framework of the ‘Fit for 55’ package, which will help reach the EU’s climate goal of reducing EU emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030. It is a step forward that will contribute to reaching the EU´s climate targets in a fair, cost-effective, and competitive way, said Teresa Ribera, Spanish acting Minister for the Ecological Transition.
Within transportation Member states will have the possibility to choose between:
- a binding target of 14.5 percent reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity in transport from the use of renewables by 2030, or
- a binding share of at least 29 percent of renewables within the final consumption of energy in the transport sector by 2030
The new rules set a binding combined sub-target of 5.5 percent for advanced biofuels (generally derived from non-food-based feedstocks) and renewable fuels of non-biological origin (RFNNBO) mostly renewable hydrogen and hydrogen-based synthetic fuels in the share of renewable energies supplied to the transport sector.
Within this target, there is a minimum requirement of 1 percent of RFNBOs in the share of renewable energies supplied to the transport sector in 2030.
Renewables and RFNBOs in industry
The adopted Directive provides that industry will increase the use of renewable energy annually by 1.6 percent. Member States agreed that 42 percent of the hydrogen used in industry should come from RFNBOs by 2030 and 60 percent by 2035.
Member States will have the possibility to discount the contribution of RFNBOs in industry use by 20 percent under two conditions:
- if the Member States’ national contribution to the binding overall EU target meets their expected contribution
- the share of hydrogen from fossil fuels consumed in the Member State is not more than 23 percent in 2030 and 20 percent in 2035
Heating and cooling in buildings
The new rules set an indicative target of at least a 49 percent renewable energy share in buildings in 2030.
Renewable targets for heating and cooling will gradually increase, with a binding increase of 0.8 percent per year at a national level until 2026 and 1.1 percent from 2026 to 2030.
The minimum annual average rate applicable to all Member States is complemented with additional indicative increases calculated specifically for each Member State.
Strengthened sustainability criteria for bioenergy
The Directive strengthens the sustainability criteria for the use of biomass for energy, in order to reduce the risk of unsustainable bioenergy production.
Member States will ensure that the cascading principle is applied, with a focus on support schemes and with “due regard to national specificities.”
Faster permitting process
Permitting procedures for renewable energy projects will be accelerated. The purpose is to fast-track the deployment of renewable energies in the context of the EU’s REPowerEU plan to become independent from Russian fossil fuels, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Member States will design renewable acceleration areas where renewable energy projects will undergo a simplified and fast permit-granting process.
Renewable energy deployment will also be presumed to be of ‘overriding public interest’, which will limit the grounds for legal objections to new installations.