EU backs plans to catch up on renewable energy

The European Parliament has votes to increase its ambitions for renewable energy, declaring that renewables will have to make up 42.5 per cent of the EU’s energy consumption by 2030, with the aim of achieving 45 per cent.

The update of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) builds on the deal already in March, but that ‘final’ deal was held up by countries seeking more latitude on nuclear energy and gas.

The legislation will also speed up procedures to grant permits for new renewable energy power plants, such as solar panels or wind turbines, or to adapt existing ones. National authorities should take no longer than 12 months to approve new renewable energy installations, if located in so-called "renewables go-to areas". Outside such areas, the process should not exceed 24 months.

In the transport sector, renewables deployment should lead to a 14.5 per cent reduction by 2030 in greenhouse gas emissions, by using a greater share of advanced biofuels and a more ambitious quota for renewable fuels of non-biological origin, such as hydrogen.

Lead MEP Markus Pieper (EPP, DE), said: "This directive is evidence that Brussels can be unbureaucratic and pragmatic. We have designated renewables as an overriding public interest, streamlining their approval process. Our focus encompasses wind power, photovoltaics, hydropower, geothermal energy, and tidal currents. Biomass from wood will remain classified as renewable energy. Under the principle of ‘Positive silence’, investments will be deemed approved in the absence of administrative feedback. We now urgently need an EU electricity market design and an immediate shift to hydrogen for a greener transition".

The legislation was adopted with 470 votes to 120, with 40 abstentions. It will now have to be formally endorsed by Council in order to come into law.

By comparison, the UK has achieved around 50 per cent renewable energy generation already.

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