Renewable energy directive
The energy sector is responsible for more than 75% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions. Increasing the share of renewable energy across the different sectors of the economy is therefore a key building block to achieving an integrated energy system that delivers on Europe’s ambition of climate neutrality.
The European Green Deal moreover sets out the EU’s path to climate neutrality by 2050, through the deep decarbonisation of all sectors of the economy, and higher greenhouse gas emission reductions for 2030.
As Europe needed to increase the use of energy from renewable sources, the original Renewable Energy Directive (2009/28/EC) establishes an overall policy for the production and promotion of energy from renewable sources in the EU. It requires the EU to fulfil at least 20% of its total energy needs with renewable energy by 2020, to be achieved through the attainment of individual national targets. All EU countries must also ensure that at least 10% of their transport fuels come from renewable sources by 2020.
The recast directive 2018/2001/EU
In December 2018, the recast Renewable Energy Directive 2018/2001/EU entered into force, as part of the Clean energy for all Europeans package, aimed at keeping the EU a global leader in renewables and, more broadly, helping the EU to meet its emissions reduction commitments under the Paris Agreement.
The recast directive moves the legal framework to 2030 and sets a new binding renewable energy target for the EU for 2030 of at least 32%, with a clause for a possible upwards revision by 2023, and comprises measures for the different sectors to make it happen. This includes new provisions for enabling self-consumption of renewable energy, an increased 14 % target for the share of renewable fuels in transport by 2030 and strengthened criteria for ensuring bioenergy sustainability.
Under the Regulation on the Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action (EU) 2018/1999, EU countries are required to draft national energy and climate plans (NECPs) for 2021-2030, outlining how they will meet the new 2030 targets for renewable energy and for energy efficiency.
Most of the other elements in the new directive need to be transposed into national law by Member States by 30 June 2021, when the original renewables directive will be repealed.
Renewable energy in the European Green Deal
With the European Green Deal, the EU is increasing its climate ambition and aims to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. To deliver on this, the Commission has pledged to make existing legislation fit for 55% emission reduction by 2030.
The aim of this revision is to ensure that renewable energy fully contributes to the achievement of the higher EU climate ambition for 2030, in line with the 2030 Climate Target Plan, and to support implementing the vision outlined in the energy system integration and hydrogen strategies, adopted on 8 July 2020. The strategies will help build an integrated energy system fit for climate neutrality and turn hydrogen into a viable solution to contribute to this vision.
As the first step in the process of reviewing the Renewable Energy Directive, on 3 August 2020 the Commission published a roadmap and opened a seven-week period for public feedback on the concept. The feedback will feed in to the Commission’s further preparatory work for the review of the directive. The Commission launched a public consultation to review the renewable energy rules on 17 November 2020 and it is open for input until 9 February 2021. In addition, a stakeholder meeting is organised on 11 December to gather first input from stakeholders on the public consultation (Agenda and registration).
Timeline for renewable energy in the EU
The United Kingdom withdrew from the European Union as of 1 February 2020. The Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and European Atomic Energy Community (OJ C 384I, 12.11.2019, p. 1) entered into force on the same date.
It provides for a transition period which will end on 31 December 2020. During the transition period, Union law, with a few exceptions, is applicable to and in the United Kingdom.
For the purposes of Union law applicable to it during the transition period, the United Kingdom is treated as an EU Member State, but will not participate in EU decision-making and decision-shaping.
- Article: Renewable energy in Europe (March 2020) en/fr/de/es/it/pl
- Factsheet: The revised renewable energy directive (January 2019)
- Renewable Energy Directive (2009/28/EC)
- Revised Renewable Energy Directive (2018/2001/EU)
- Directive to reduce indirect land use change for biofuels and bioliquids ((EU) 2015/1513)