EU - Sign Off of Three Major Clean Energy Files

BY 2030, the EU will have to get 32% of its energy from renewable sources and reach an energy efficiency headline target of 32.5%. The new targets are set out in a revised directive on energy efficiency and a revised directive on renewable energy which were adopted yesterday by the European Council.

The Council also signed off on the so-called governance regulation, which sets out the framework for the governance of the Energy Union and climate action. This completes the final stage in the legislative procedure for the three files, which are part of the Clean Energy package.

The revised energy efficiency directive establishes a framework of measures whose main objective is to ensure that the EU's 2020 and 2030 headline targets are met. Increasing energy efficiency will benefit the environment, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve energy security, cut energy costs for households and companies, help alleviate energy poverty and contribute to growth and jobs.

The main elements of the revised directive include:

  • EU headline targets on energy efficiency of at least 32,5% by 2030
  • An obligation to achieve energy savings each year between 2021 and 2030 of 0.8% (0,24% in the case of Cyprus and Malta) of annual final energy consumption  as well as flexibility for the Member States on how to fulfil this obligation
  • Social provisions requiring Member States to take into account the need to alleviate energy poverty when designing policy measures aimed at achieving energy savings.

The revision of the renewable energy directive will accelerate Europe's transition towards clean energy by building on a variety of renewable sources such as wind, solar, hydro, tidal, geothermal, biomass and biofuels. It sets a headline target of 32% energy from renewable sources at EU level for 2030.

Further key elements of the revised renewable energy directive include:

  • The roll-out of renewable electricity production will be stepped up through market-oriented support schemes, reduced permit granting procedures and one-stop-shop methods
  • The use of renewables in transport will be accelerated through increased obligations on fuel suppliers to reach a level of at least 14% of energy from renewable sources in transport, while conventional biofuels with a high risk of indirect land-use change will be phased out by 2030
  • Households that wish to produce their own renewable energy, for instance via rooftop solar panels, will be supported by being exempted to a large extent from charges or fees for their self-produced energy consumption.

The governance regulation defines how member states will cooperate both with each other and with the European Commission to reach the ambitious objectives of the Energy Union, including notably the renewable energy targets and the energy efficiency targets, as well as the EU's long-term greenhouse gas emissions goals. It also sets out control mechanisms that will help ensure that the targets are met, and that the range of actions proposed constitute a coherent and coordinated approach.

The three legislative files are part of the clean energy package, which was presented by the Commission in November 2016. The Council adopted its position (General Approach) in June 2017 for the energy efficiency directive and in December 2017 for the governance regulation and the renewable energy directive.

Following intense negotiations during the Bulgarian presidency, agreements with the European Parliament were reached on the three files in June 2018. The deals were approved by the European Parliament in plenary on 13 November.

Today's adoption by the Council was the final step. The three legislative texts are scheduled to be published in the Official Journal of the EU on 21 December. All three files will enter into force on the third day after their publication.

Wednesday 5th December 2018

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