EU Council adopts 40% renewable energy target by 2030

EU Council adopts 40% renewable energy target by 2030

The 27 have just agreed on increasing the share of renewable energies to 40% of the European energy mix by 2030. An objective that is however obsolete since the war in Ukraine is now pushing Europeans to consider a new objective of 45% .

Meeting within the Council of the European Union, the energy ministers of the 27 Member States reached an agreement on the general guidelines for the revision of the renewable energy directive presented last July.

A success for the French Presidency of the EU which explicitly provided in its program “ofaccelerate the development of renewable energies (EnR)”.

“EnR are the backbone of our efforts in terms of the autonomy of our energy systems” remember Kadri Simson, European Commissioner for Energy, in the preamble to the Energy Council bringing together the ministers of each Member State in charge of these issues.

“reasonable compromise”

This “reasonable compromise”according to the Italian representative, is also “the only real prospect for freeing us from dependence on Russia” says the Portuguese representative.

However, this is only a half-victory for the French presidency of the EU. In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the European Commission has indeed proposed to raise the renewable target to 45% of the European bouquet by 2030.

The most important thing remains to be done. He was “agreed […] to proceed in two stages” agreed in this sense the Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the EU, Fabrice Dubreuil, at a press conference on Sunday 26 June.

Despite everything, European energy ministers showed their satisfaction during a public debate broadcast on Monday 27 June.

The Minister for the Spanish Ecological Transition sees general guidelines “satisfactory”insofar as the countries that are usually the most reluctant to changes in the energy mix, support the general orientations of the negotiations.

This is the case for the Hungarian Minister for National Innovation and Technology, for whom the text is a “great document”.

Poland also supports the general guidelines, but its representative asks the European authorities “to take national differences into account” for the achievement of the sectoral sub-objectives.

Reservations on sectoral sub-objectives

Most Member States have similar reservations. “The sub-targets should be at the discretion of member states” thus declares the Estonian representative.

Same story for the Latvian, Finnish, Romanian and Slovak representatives. The latter asking “let everyone choose their mix in terms of the most interesting cost-effectiveness”.

Hungary welcomes the fact that the sub-objectives are only “indicators”.

Conversely, the Netherlands pleads for them to be “binding”particularly in terms of the use of green hydrogen as a renewable fuel of non-biological origin (RFNBO).

The revised Renewable Energy Directive provides in the sense that “Member States shall ensure that the contribution of RFNBOs for energy and final non-energy purposes represents 35% of the hydrogen used for energy and final non-energy purposes in industry in 2030 (Article 22a.)”.

But while the Spanish Minister for Energy Transition recalls the need for a “transition period for the first hydrogen projects”, Slovakia and Greece are asking for the target to be lowered from 35% to 30%. Hungary even proposes to raise it to 25%.

However, the 35% target would make it possible to make Europe a continent at the forefront of the renewable hydrogen economy”defends Kadri Simson.

The situation is similar for the use of renewable energies in heating and cooling. Slovakia, Poland and Hungary in particular disapprove of the objectives set out in the revised directive under current conditions. These increase the share of renewable energies in this sector by at least 0.8% per year between 2021 and 2025, then by 1.1% per year over the period 2026-2030.

Clear investment framework

For these objectives to be achieved, most Member States call for a clear investment framework. “We need to be specific to create visibility for investors” declared Claude Turmes, Luxembourg Minister for the Environment.

In terms of investment, many Member States are also calling for a more inclusive general framework, particularly for renewable energies. This is particularly the case in Denmark and Croatia.

However, these two countries have not joined Germany, which will soon issue a statement urging the future Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU to insist on the « acceleration [et la simplification] of the granting of permits” during the upcoming final negotiations on the text, scheduled for September 2022.

Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Luxembourg support this publication.

Jozef Síkela, Minister of Industry and Commerce of the Czech Republic, who will head the EU Council at the end of the week, concludes that “to be ambitious, you have to offer enough flexibility to take into account the need for an effective transition, particularly in terms of cost”.

The 45% postponed until later

By supporting the general guidelines on the renewable energy directive, Prague is giving an encouraging signal for the defense of the text during the next rounds of negotiations with the European Parliament, which are to take place after the start of the school year in September.

Discussions that will mainly revolve around raising the target to 45%, as recommended by the European Commission’s REPowerEU program presented last May.

[Edité par Frédéric Simon]

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