EU Council of Ministers adopts position on Renewable Energies Directive; bumps renewables in transport to 14% in 2030
The EU Council has adopted its position on a directive promoting the use of renewable energy across the EU. This agreement paves the way for the Council to start negotiations with the European Parliament as soon as it agrees on its negotiating mandate.
The EU is committed to reach a target of at least 27% renewable energy of its overall energy consumption by 2030. This directive, in line with the guidelines of the European Council from October 2014, confirms this binding target and puts in place the appropriate framework and tools to achieve that goal.
The new legislation addresses bioenergy, sustainability, transport, electricity, heating and cooling, and in particular, focuses on consumers. Facilitating and enhancing consumers’ use of renewables is a key element in the Council’s position.
In the transport sector, the renewables target for 2030 is set at 14% for each member state—up from 10% in 2020—and there is a sub-target of 3% for advanced biofuels, for which double-counting will be allowed.
This advanced biofuels target has an intermediate binding milestone of 1% in 2025 to increase investment security and guarantee the availability of fuels throughout the period.
Electromobility is strongly encouraged by two multipliers of 5x for renewable electricity used in road transport, and of 2x for rail transport.
The existing 7% cap on first-generation biofuels is maintained to provide certainty to investors. If a member state sets a lower cap, it will be rewarded with the option of lowering its overall target for renewables in transport.
The directive also clarifies rules concerning the sustainability criteria and greenhouse gas emissions saving criteria that apply to biofuels, bioliquids and biomass fuels.
Norbert Schindler, Chairman of the German Bioethanol Industry Association (BDBe) commented that:
The EU Energy Council’s decision concerning the recast of the Renewable Energies Directive is a step in the right direction. The decision to stipulate a minimum 14% share of renewables in fuel paves the way for significant reductions in CO2 emissions from the transport sector. One negative point however is the envisaged double-counting for biofuels from waste and residues. This would not lead to lower CO2 emissions.
Schindler called for Germany’s current provisions on a 4% cut in CO2 emissions for all fuels to be made much more stringent; this is the only way to ensure further abatement of CO2 emissions in the transport sector. He underlined that the 6% reduction in CO2 emissions currently scheduled for 2020 should be brought forward to 2018, and that the target must be raised to an 8% cut from 2020.
The European Parliament is expected to agree on its negotiating mandate for this directive in the beginning of next year. The Council stands ready to start negotiations immediately after.