MEPs set ambitious targets for cleaner, more efficient energy use

MEPs are ready to negotiate binding targets with EU ministers to boost energy efficiency by 35% and the share of renewables in the total energy mix by 35%, by 2030.

Parliament endorsed committee proposals for binding EU-level targets of an 35% improvement in energy efficiency, a minimum 35% share of energy from renewable sources in gross final consumption of energy, and a 12% share of energy from renewable sources in transport, by 2030.

FuturENERGY
To meet these overall targets, EU member states are asked to set their own national targets, to be monitored and achieved in line with a draft law on the governance of the Energy Union.

35% binding EU energy efficiency target

On energy efficiency, Parliament voted in favour of a minimum 35% binding EU target and indicative national ones.

This target should be considered on the basis of the projected energy consumption in 2030 according to the PRIMES model (simulating the energy consumption and the energy supply system in the EU).

The draft law on energy efficiency was approved by 485 votes to 132, with 58 abstentions.

Renewable energy: a binding 35% target

Voting on a separate piece of legislation, adopted with 492 votes to 88 and 107 abstentions, MEPs said that the share of renewable energy should be of 35% of the energy consumption in the EU in 2030. National targets should also be set, from which Member States would be allowed to deviate by a maximum of 10% under certain conditions.

Transport: more advanced biofuels, palm-oil to be phased out by 2021

In 2030, each Member State will have to ensure that 12% of the energy consumed in transport comes from renewable sources. The contribution of so-called “first generation” biofuels (made from food and feed crops) should be capped to 2017 levels, with a maximum of 7% in road and rail transport. MEPs also want a ban on the use of palm oil from 2021.

The share of advanced biofuels (which have a lower impact on land use than those based on food crops), renewable transport fuels of non-biological origin, waste-based fossil fuels and renewable electricity will have to be at least 1.5% in 2021, rising to 10% in 2030.

Charging stations

By 2022, 90% of fuel stations along the roads of the Trans-European Networks should be equipped with high power recharging points for electric vehicles, say MEPs.

Biomass

MEPs want support schemes for renewable energy from biomass to be designed to avoid encouraging the unsustainable use of biomass for energy production if there are better industrial or material uses, as carbon captured in wood would be released if it were burned for heating. For energy generation, priority should therefore be given to burning wood wastes and residues.

Consumer generated power and energy communities

Parliament wants to ensure that consumers who produce electricity on their premises are entitled to consume it and install storage systems without having to pay any charges, fees or taxes.

The negotiating remit for MEPs also asks member states to assess existing barriers to consuming energy produced on the consumer’s own premises, to promote such consumption, and to ensure that consumers, particularly households, can join renewable energy communities without being subject to unjustified conditions or procedures.

Quotes

Jose Blanco Lopez (S&D, ES), rapporteur for renewables, said: “The European Commission was too timid in its proposal. If Europe wants to fulfil its Paris commitments, to fight climate change and to lead the energy transition, we need to do more. Parliament was able to achieve a broad consensus for significantly higher 2030 targets.” We also managed to reinforce self-consumption as a right, to bring security and certainty to investors, to raise the ambition for decarbonising the transport sector, as well as the heating and cooling sectors. Decarbonisation is not a drag on economic growth. On the contrary, it is the driver of competitiveness, economic activity and employment.

Miroslav Poche (S&D, CZ), rapporteur for energy efficiency, said: “Energy efficiency is one of the key dimensions of the EU´s energy union strategy. An ambitious policy in this area will contribute to achieving both our climate and energy goals as well as to increasing our competitiveness. It is also one of the best ways how to fight energy poverty in Europe.

Michele Rivasi (Greens/EFA, FR), co-rapporteur for governance, said : “The European Parliament has taken a historic, compliant and consistent position with the EU’s climate commitments.This is the first time that European legislation has developed, in particular, an EU 35% renewable energy target and a 35% energy efficiency target for 2030, a methane strategy, and obligations to fight against energy poverty. This policy will help develop genuine energy independence, create jobs and secure investments. In addition to being consistent, the governance proposal provides a platform for dialogue between civil society, local authorities and governments. This transparency will be necessary to deal with the lobby of energy oligopolies. One interest must prevail over all others: the future of the planet and its inhabitants!

Claude Turmes (Greens/EFA, LU), co-rapporteur for governance, said: “After the very weak deal reached by the Council in December on the Clean Energy package, I am proud that Parliament today contributed to restore EU’s credibility on climate. Increased ambition on renewables, energy efficiency and a strong governance system based on a carbon budget approach will contribute to the achievement of a net-zero carbon economy by 2050 and to comply with the Paris Agreement. The Parliament will show a united front when entering into negotiations with the Council.

National plans and the role of the EU Commission

To deliver on Energy Union aims, by 1 January 2019 and every ten years thereafter, each member state must notify an integrated national energy and climate plan to the EU Commission. The first plan must shall cover the period from 2021 to 2030. The following plans must shall cover the ten-year period immediately following the end of the period covered by the previous plan. (EC version, both AM fell).

The Commission would assess the integrated national energy and climate plans, and could make recommendations or take remedial measures if it considers that insufficient progress has been made or insufficient actions has been taken.

The resolution on the governance of the energy union was approved by 466 votes to139, with 38 abstentions.

Next steps

The negotiations with the Council can start immediately, as it approved its general approaches on energy efficiency on 26 June and on renewables and the governance of the Energy Union on 18 December.

Source: European Parliament