Preliminary agreement on the EU Renewable Energy Directive

Negotiators from the Council of the European Union, the European Commission and the European Parliament have agreed on an amendment to the Renewable Energy Directive, which has been in force since 2018. According to the agreement, the target enshrined there of achieving a 32 percent share of energy from renewable sources in the EU’s total energy consumption in 2030 is to be increased to 42.5 percent; ideally, 45 percent could be achieved through an »indicative top up.« Confirmation of this preliminary agreement by the two legislative bodies is still pending, but is considered certain.
The increase in targets is intended to bring the Renewable Energy Directive in line with the European Commission’s July 2021 target of a 55 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and a carbon-neutral EU by 2050 (»Fit for 55« package). These goals would not be achievable with the current targets of the directive. For the same reason, an acceleration of approval procedures for renewable energy projects is also part of the compromise.
Environmental associations criticize the agreed target as too low. Furthermore, the possibility of including hydrogen production from nuclear power in targets for »green« hydrogen produced with renewables is rejected as »greenwashing« by the Deutscher Naturschutzring (DNR), for example. On the other hand, politicians such as the Austrian climate protection minister Leonore Gewessler emphasize that it has at least been possible to »prevent an equation of nuclear energy and renewable energies.« Another important point of criticism from environmental associations, but also from EU parliamentarians, especially from the Green Party, is the continued possibility of valuing and subsidizing the large-scale combustion of biomass, especially wood, in power plants as climate-neutral.

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