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European Parliament approves 2030 renewable energy target

The European Parliament has approved a binding 32 percent 2030 target for renewable energy and an indicative 32.5 percent target on energy efficiency that it says will play a crucial role in meeting the EU’s climate goals. Both targets are to be reviewed by 2023 and can only be raised, not lowered. In addition, governance of the Energy Union was also approved – three important legislative files that are part of the Clean Energy for All Europeans package.

The European Parliament confirmed on November 13 the provisional agreement reached with the European Council in June. By 2030, energy efficiency in the EU is to have improved by 32.5, whereas the share of energy from renewables should be at least 32 percent of the EU’s gross final consumption. The former is an indicative target and the latter is binding. Both are to be reviewed by 2023 and can only be raised, not lowered.

Lower energy bills and the right to become a renewable self-consumer

By making energy more efficient, Europeans will see their energy bills reduced. In addition, Europe will reduce its reliance on external suppliers of oil and gas, improve local air quality and protect the climate.

For the first time, member states will also be obliged to establish specific energy efficiency measures to the benefit of those affected by energy poverty. Member states must also ensure that citizens are entitled to generate renewable energy for their own consumption, to store it and to sell excess production.

Increased energy efficiency is a win-win policy for all Europeans. It is a good deal for our citizens, as it will bring about major reductions in energy consumption, thus reducing bills. But it is also great news for the competitiveness of European industry, reducing costs and stimulating investment, said Miroslav Poche (S&D, CZ), energy efficiency rapporteur.

Moving towards second-generation biofuels

Second generation biofuels can play a significant role in reducing the carbon footprint of transport and at least 14 percent of fuel for transport must come from renewable sources by 2030.

However, first generation biofuels with a high risk of “indirect land use change” (ILUC) – described as when land is converted from non-crop cultivation such as grasslands and forests- to food production, which increases carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions – will no longer count towards the EU’s renewable energy goals from 2030. From 2019, the contribution of first generation biofuels to these goals will gradually be phased out until it reaches zero in 2030.

New governance to achieve the Energy Union

Each member state must present a ten-year “integrated national energy and climate plan” with national targets, contributions, policies and measures by 31 December 2019, and every ten years thereafter.

We disincentivised investments in new production of food crop-based biofuels and we have pushed for advanced biofuels. We also managed to strengthen self-consumption as a right, and included the Parliament’s wish for a ban on charges and fees on self-consumed energy as a general rule, said José Blanco López (S&D, ES), rapporteur for renewables.

Once the Council formally adopts the deal, the new rules will be published in the Official Journal, and enter into force 20 days after publication. The regulation on governance will be directly applied in all member states, whereas member states will have to transpose the new elements of the other two directives into national law no later than 18 months after its entry into force.

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