European Parliament Revises Renewable Target to 42.5% by 2030

The legislation also provides for a faster approval procedure for the deployment of renewables

September 14, 2023


The European Parliament has approved the update to the Renewable Energy Directive, which raises the share of renewables in Europe’s final energy consumption to 42.5% by 2030. Member states are encouraged to strive for a higher target of 45%.

The legislative update was adopted with an overwhelming majority, with 470 votes in favor, 120 against, and 40 abstentions. The next step is for the legislation to be formally endorsed by the Council to become law.

In March, the European Parliament and the Council had provisionally agreed to raise the European Union’s binding renewable target to a minimum of 42.5% by 2030, up from 32%.

One of the revised directive’s key provisions is streamlining procedures for granting new renewable energy project permits. This includes solar panels, wind turbines, and adaptations to existing installations. The legislation stipulates that national authorities should take no longer than 12 months to approve new renewable energy projects in designated “renewables go-to areas.” The approval process should not exceed 24 months for projects located outside these areas.

Members also voted in favor of setting an indicative target for innovative renewable energy technology, ensuring that at least 5% of newly installed renewable energy capacity is dedicated to innovation. Additionally, a binding framework for cross-border energy projects has been established.

Stricter criteria have been introduced for the use of biomass to prevent unsustainable practices. This includes guidelines to ensure that biomass harvesting methods do not negatively impact soil quality and biodiversity, safeguarding the EU’s commitment to sustainability.

Lead Member of the European Parliament Markus Pieper said, “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 without administrative feedback. We now urgently need an EU electricity market design and an immediate shift to hydrogen for a greener transition.”

The transport sector is a significant focus of the updated directive, with a target set to achieve a 14.5% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. This will be accomplished by increasing the use of advanced biofuels and setting more ambitious quotas for renewable fuels of non-biological origin, such as hydrogen.

The approval of this legislation marks a significant step towards achieving the EU’s ambitious climate goals, as outlined in the ‘Fit for 55’ package. This package aligns existing climate and energy legislation with the new EU target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030.

Moreover, the legislation aims to reduce European dependence on fossil fuel imports from Russia, particularly considering recent geopolitical developments following Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.

In March, the EU Parliament adopted the revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, mandating solar rooftop systems for all new buildings by 2028 and renovating residential buildings by 2032.

A Legal and General Investment Management report said that Europe and Asia would experience high energy prices in the coming years if sufficient decarbonization funding is delayed by another decade.