Lawmakers in the European Parliament voted 470-120 to approve new legislation mandating that renewables constitute 42.5% of the EU’s energy consumption by 2030, as well as setting more ambitious clean energy targets to several high-emitting sectors, and speeding up the approval of projects to accelerate renewable energy deployment.

The approval marks one of the last major steps to advance the proposal into law, with the legislation now awaiting formal approval by the EU Council. The Council reached a provisional agreement on the law with Parliament in March 2023.

The new 2030 target would nearly double the share of renewable energy in the EU’s energy mix from approximately 22% in 2021. The legislation also directs EU Member States to endeavor to collectively achieve a renewable energy target of 45%.

The new law would also significantly raises the EU’s renewable energy goal from its current 2030 target of 32%, and even above the initial 40% goal proposed by the European Commission’s “Fit for 55” roadmap, the EU’s proposed strategy to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. That target was raised to the 45% goal in May 2022 with the EU’s REPowerEU Plan, as part of the strategy to rapidly reduce reliance on Russian fossil fuels in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In addition to raising the mandated share of renewables, the legislation aims to speed up the permitting process for new renewable energy power plants, with approvals of under 12 months in areas designated as “renewables go-to areas,” identified under the REPowerEU plan as locations that are particularly suitable for the installation of renewable energy plants and in which deployment is not expected to have significant environmental impacts. In other areas, the approval process should not exceed 12 months under the new rules.

Sector targets under the legislation include reaching at least a 49% renewable energy share in buildings by 2030, as well as measures to gradually increase renewable targets for cooling and heating, a 14.5% reduction in transport sector emissions by 2030 through increased renewables deployment, requirements for industry to increase the use of renewable energy annually by 1.6% and for 42% of the hydrogen used in industry to come from renewable fuels of non-biological origin (RFNBOs) by 2030, and 60% by 2035.

In order to advance the development of new sources of clean energy, the legislation also sets an indicative target for at least 5% of newly installed renewable energy capacity by 2030 to be “innovative renewable energy technology.”

Lead MEP Markus Pieper (EPP, DE), said:

“In our pursuit of greater energy independence and CO2 reduction, we have raised our renewable energy targets. This directive is evidence that Brussels can be unbureaucratic and pragmatic. We have designated renewables as an overriding public interest, streamlining their approval process… We now urgently need an EU electricity market design and an immediate shift to hydrogen for a greener transition”.

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