Modest success on targets but key decisions pushed back to 2023
The European Parliament, Commission and Council came to agreement on the revision to the Renewables Directive late last night.
While the overall level of ambition falls below what is needed to meet the EU’s climate commitments, the Greens/EFA group has welcomed three key steps forward in the negotiations:
- Renewables target of 32% by 2030 - significantly higher than the original Council and Commission proposal of 27%
- The removal of administrative and legal barriers to “self-consumption” of renewable energy - making it easier for citizens to generate and use their own clean energy
- Action on harmful biofuels such as palm oil
Greens/EFA energy spokesperson Claude Turmes comments:
"We have forced European governments to up their ambition on renewables. While it’s frustrating to continually have to drag governments into fulfilling the targets they signed up for in the Paris climate agreement, we’ve at least convinced them to move in the right direction. Crucially, there’s a review clause in five years’ time, and we expect this will have to be used to make the targets stronger.
"We have always said we want to see everyone given a chance to play a part in the transition to renewables, not just big energy firms. The new rules strip away the barriers for people to produce and use their own renewable energy. This will make it easier to individuals and communities to set up their own renewable energy projects and benefit financially from making their own energy."
Greens/EFA environment spokesperson Bas Eickhout adds:
"One of the most sensitive issues during the negotiations was biofuels from food and feed crops. We succeeded in ensuring that there is no longer a direct European stimulus driving the use of these type of fuels, taking away the main excuse that governments use to keep on subsidising their farmers at the expense of the climate. Moreover, the extent to which countries are allowed to count those fuels as a renewable energy source has been further curtailed.
"The signal that the EU is moving away from the most harmful biofuels, palm oil and soy, is even stronger. Their contribution will be capped at 2019 levels until 2023, with a phase-out foreseen from 2023 until 2030. That is quite a victory. There is no precedent for a phase-out of the use of specific crops. The importance of this provision is shown by the reaction of the European Commission, who have expressed their reservations. Apparently there are some Directorates where trade agreements with Indonesia and Malaysia are more important than the environment."