The European Commission, the European Parliament, and the European Council have agreed on a comprehensive redesign of the EU Renewables Directive (RED III) after nearly two years of intensive negotiations. The agreement raises the EU’s binding renewable target for 2030 to a minimum of 42.5%, up from the current 32% target, almost doubling the existing share of renewable energy in the EU. Negotiators also agreed that the EU would aim to reach 45% of renewables by 2030.
A massive scaling-up and speeding-up of renewable energy across power generation, industry, buildings and transport will reduce energy prices over time and decrease the EU’s dependence on imported fossil fuels.
Permitting procedures will be easier and faster under the new law. Renewable energy will be recognised as an overriding public interest, while preserving a high level of environmental protection. In areas with high renewables potential and low environmental risks, Member States will put in place dedicated acceleration areas for renewables, with particularly short and simple permitting processes. The provisional agreement also enhances cross-border cooperation on renewables.
As a key energy-consuming sector, industry is included for the first time in the Renewable Energy Directive. The agreement establishes indicative targets (1.6% of annual increase in renewable energy use) as well as a binding target to reach 42% of renewable hydrogen in total hydrogen consumption in industry by 2030. The agreement also reinforces the regulatory framework for renewable energy use in transport (14.5% greenhouse gas intensity reduction or 29% share of renewable energy in final energy consumption), including a combined sub-target of 5.5% for advanced biofuels and renewable fuels of non-biological origin, including a minimum level of 1% for renewable fuels of non-biological origin. These targets support the EU’s ambitions on renewable hydrogen roll-out.
A more sustainable use of bioenergy in line with ambitious climate goals
The agreement strengthens the bioenergy sustainability criteria, in line with the increased climate and biodiversity ambition of the European Green Deal. In the future, these criteria will apply to smaller installations (equal or above 7.5 MW) rather than the 20 MW threshold under the current directive. The agreement includes provisions to ensure that forest biomass is not sourced from certain areas with a particular importance from a biodiversity and carbon stock perspective. In addition, the agreed rules establish that woody biomass will have to be used according to its highest economic and environmental added value (so-called cascading use). Financial support will be banned for energy produced through the use of saw logs, veneer logs, industrial grade roundwood, and stumps and roots.