The European Parliament votes that renewables cover 45% of energy consumption in 2030

The European Parliament has voted that renewables cover 45% of consumption in 2030. This Wednesday, MEPs voted in favor of increasing the percentage of renewable energies in the final energy consumption of the EU up to 45% in 2030, within of the revision of the renewable energy directive, an objective also supported by the European Commission within its RepowerEU package.

The legislative proposal also defines specific targets for sectors such as transport, construction, and district heating and cooling. In the transport sector, the deployment of renewable energies should lead to a 16% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, through the use of higher shares of advanced biofuels and a more ambitious share of renewable fuels of non-biological origin like hydrogen.

Industry should increase its use of renewable energy by 1.9 percentage points a year, and district heating networks by 2.3 points.

Each Member State will have to develop two cross-border projects for the expansion of green energy. Countries with an annual electricity consumption of more than 100 TWh will have to develop a third before 2030.

MEPs also approved amendments to gradually reduce the accounting for wood as renewable energy.

The text was approved with 418 votes in favor –mainly popular, socialist, liberal and green–, 109 against and 111 abstentions.

The PSOE MEP Nicolás González Casares, rapporteur for the European Socialists for the new renewable energy directive, advocated in the plenary session in Strasbourg to "raise the ambition" to ensure that by 2030 45% of the energy in the European Union is from renewable source. "Renewables are a fundamental part of the solution to escalating prices", he said during the debate: "We must encourage a collective mobilization in European society so that it is truly involved in this energy transition". In this sense, he has indicated that negotiations are being carried out to "accelerate administrative permits and improve social acceptance, because it is essential that this ecological and energy transition be inclusive."

González Casares defended the need to address bioenergy, "with measures to make it more sustainable, also helping to prevent forest fires, an increasingly virulent plague due to climate change." In addition, he has called for promoting innovative renewable technologies such as green hydrogen: "We need a stable, predictable framework, with clear criteria for the coming years, to make it a driving force in the energy transition."

The UP MEP and IU spokesperson, Sira Rego, shadow rapporteur for La Izquierda, explained her group's vote against: "The European Commission's proposal lacks ambition and does not represent the necessary progress in the transition towards renewable energy. The objectives are not binding or by Member States, nor do they pose obligations on the economic sectors that are reluctant to abandon fossil fuels. We continue to support a fair transition, which guarantees 50% renewables through binding commitments by States and economic sectors. We also believe that it is necessary to do so while protecting the affected workers and territories. To do this, we need to put an end to the current model in the hands of the electricity oligopoly and ensure democratic planning of the sector, as well as public control of the energy sector as a whole”.

Energy efficiency

In another vote also on Wednesday, the plenary supported the revision of the Energy Efficiency Directive (DEE), the law that establishes energy saving objectives in primary and final energy consumption in the EU. Thus, a vote has been taken to request mandatory national energy efficiency targets and a mandatory annual rate of renovation of public buildings.

MEPs increased the final and primary energy consumption reduction target for the EU as a whole, so that Member States must collectively guarantee a cut in final energy consumption of at least 40% by 2030, and 42, 5% in primary energy consumption, compared to the 2007 level. This is equivalent to 740 and 960 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) for final and primary energy consumption, respectively. Member States must set binding national contributions to achieve these targets.

To achieve this, they will need to take action at local, regional, national and European level, in different sectors, including public administration, buildings, companies and data centers.

The text went ahead with 469 votes in favor, 93 against and 82 abstentions.

The MEP of En Comú Podem and vice president of the Green group, Ernest Urtasun, commented: “Energy efficiency is key to saving energy. It is better for the climate and for the pockets of citizens. Energy efficient technologies and saving policies make a crucial difference to permanently eliminate Europe's dependence on fossil fuels from Russia. National commitments and targets set drive energy efficiency and energy savings, which are key tools to resolve the energy crisis. We will defend the mandatory and savings targets in the upcoming negotiations with the Council and the Commission.”

MEPs and the Czech Presidency of the Council will now start negotiations on both texts, on which the Council fixed its position in June.

On July 14, 2021, the European Commission adopted the “Fit for 55” package, which adapts current climate and energy legislation to meet the new EU target of a minimum 55% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. of greenhouse effect (GHG) by 2030. One of the elements of the package is the revision of the directive on renewable energies (RED II), which will help the EU to meet the new objective of 55% of GHG. Under RED II, currently in force, the EU is required to ensure that at least 32% of its energy consumption comes from renewable energy sources by 2030.

The Fit for 55" package also includes the recasting of the Energy Efficiency Directive (DEE), adapting its provisions to the new 55% cut target for polluting emissions. In its current version, the efficiency standard sets an energy saving target for the EU of 32.5% by 2030.

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