Cleaner energy: new binding targets for energy efficiency and use of renewables

A binding target to reduce energy consumption by 40% by 2030 at EU level was agreed by the Industry and Energy Committee on Tuesday. MEPs wanted to be more ambitious than the EU Commission, which had proposed a 30% reduction.

Each EU country will have to set its own corresponding national energy-efficiency targets that are needed to reach the overall goal of 40% reduction in energy consumption. These would cover all stages of the energy chain, including generation, transmission, distribution and end-use.

The 40% binding target for energy-efficiency would translate into an energy consumption at EU level of maximum 1132 Mtoe of primary energy, and 849 Mtoe of final energy. This would mean a reduction by 34%, and 31%, respectively, compared to 2005 levels.

In a separate vote, which also took place on Tuesday, Industry and Energy Committee MEPs agreed that by 2030, a minimum of 35% of all energy consumed in the EU would need to come from renewable, cleaner sources. For the transport sector, at least 12% of the energy consumed in each member state would have to be produced from renewables, such as the sun or wind.

The resolution on energy efficiency was approved by 33 votes in favour to 30 against and 2 abstentions. The resolution on renewables was approved by 43 votes in favour to 14 against and 7 abstentions.

Support schemes for electricity from renewable sources

National authorities need to make sure that financial programmes, supporting measures which increase the share of electricity produced from renewables, are stable and predictable. They should refrain from making frequent changes and avoid all retroactive changes.

Renewable self-consumers

MEPs amended the legislative proposals to make sure 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. They also ask member states to assess existing barriers to consuming energy produced on your own premises, to promote renewable self-consumption being developed further.

Energy communities

MEPs want to help people setting up renewable energy co-operatives in their communities, where they can install solar panels, wind turbines or hydroelectric power jointly. They therefore ask member states to ensure that consumers, particularly households, can join such renewable energy communities without being subject to unjustified conditions or procedures.

José Blanco Lopez (S&D, ES), rapporteur for the renewables file said: “Europe needs to do more, Europe needs more ambition in renewables to meet the Paris commitments, combat climate change and lead the energy transition. The Industry and Energy Committee, through a very broad majority, defends raising the binding target for renewables at EU level from 27% to 35%, to enshrine self-consumption as a right, to give security and certainty to investors and to increase the ambition in the decarbonisation of transport and heating and cooling sectors.

Next Steps

The two legislative resolutions will be voted on by the full Parliament during the January plenary session to give MEPs the mandate to start negotiations with EU governments.

Source: European Parliament