Renewable energy: setting ambitious targets for Europe 

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To help the EU reach its ambitious emissions reduction targets in the fight against climate change, Parliament is working to accelerate greener alternatives such as renewable energy.

The current energy crisis, amplified by Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, has underlined the need to reduce EU dependence on Russian fossil fuels and to diversify and secure the EU’s energy supply by focusing on greener alternatives, such as renewables. In addition, the EU wants to lead the green transition to counter the climate crisis.

Read more on the different EU measures to boost renewable energy

Deciding on new EU renewable energy targets for 2030

Europe’s ambitious climate efforts are set out in the Fit for 55 climate package. The EU’s goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 55% by 2030, and become climate neutral by 2050.

The legislative package also include the update of the EU’s renewable energy directive to raise the share of renewables in the EU’s energy mix from the current target of 32% by 2030.

In September 2022, Parliament set out its demand to raise the renewables target to 45%, a target also backed by the Commission under its REPowerEU plan. Presented in May 2022, it stresses the need to accelerate the clean energy transition and phase out energy imports from Russia by scaling up the share of renewables in power generation, industry, buildings and transport to 45% by 2030.

Parliament will vote on new rules governing renewables, energy efficiency and the energy performance of buildings in December 2022. It is set to call for faster issuance of permits for new or adapted renewable energy power plants, including solar panels and windmills.

Learn more about the Fit for 55 and the Green Deal

Increasing the share of renewables across sectors in the EU

The Commission is also proposing updated targets in the following sectors:

  • Buildings - 49% of renewables use by 2030.
  • Heating and cooling - the existing indicative 1.1 percentage point annual increase becomes binding on EU countries,
  • District heating and cooling - an indicative 2.1 percentage point annual increase in the use of renewables and waste heat and cold (an increase from the current 1.0 point increase)
  • Industry - a new benchmark of a 1 percentage point annual increase in renewables use



MEPs back the Commission’s buildings target but want to raise the annual increase for heating and cooling to 2.3 points. . They also want a more ambitious 1.9 point target for industry, They expect the use of renewables in the transport sector to lead to a 16% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions through greater use of advanced biofuels and higher quotas for renewable fuels of non-biological origin such as hydrogen.


MEPs want EU countries to:

  • Develop at least two cross-border projects for the expansion of green electricity by 2025
  • Ensure at least 5% of newly installed renewable energy capacity comes from innovative renewable energy technology

Renewable goals at national level

 

The table shows how EU countries met the 2020 renewable energy goals.


Share of energy from renewable sources (in % of gross final energy consumption)


2016

2020 target

2020 figures (performance)

Sweden

53.8

49

60.1

Finland

38.7

38

43.8

Latvia

37.2

40

42.1

Austria

33.5

34

36.5

Denmark

32.2

30

31.6

Estonia

28.8

25

30.2

Portugal

28.5

31

34.0

Croatia

28.3

20

31.0

Lithuania

25.6

23

26.8

Romania

25

24

24.5

Slovenia

21.3

25

25.0

Bulgaria

18.8

16

23.3

Italy

17.4

17

20.4

Spain

17.3

20

21.2

EU average

17

20

22

France

16

23

19.1

Greece

15.2

18

21.7

Czech Republic

14.9

13

17.3

Germany

14.8

18

19.3

Hungary

14.2

13

13.9

Slovakia

12

14

17.3

Poland

11.3

15

16.1

Ireland

9.5

16

16.2

Cyprus

9.3

13

16.9

Belgium

8.7

13

13.0

Malta

6

10

10.7

Netherlands

6

14

14.0

Luxembourg

5.4

11

11.7


Source: Eurostat

More on what the EU does to boost renewable energy

 


This article was first published in November 2017; it has been substantially rewritten to reflect the latest developments on renewables in the EU.

The EU is keen to push the use of clean energy, such as solar energy ©AP Images/European Union-EP