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.
Thel 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 32% of its total energy needs with renewable energy by 2030 and builds on the already achieved progress, including the achievement of the EU target of 20% renewables 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to be transposed into national law by Member States by 30 June 2021, when the original renewables directive will be repealed.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.
Revision of the directive
The revision aims to ensure that renewable energy fully contributes to achieving the higher EU climate ambition for 2030, in line with the 2030 Climate Target Plan, and to support the implementation of the energy system integration and hydrogen strategies, adopted on 8 July 2020. The 2 strategies will help build an integrated energy system, based on renewable energy and fit for climate neutrality, and turn hydrogen into a viable solution to help reach the objectives of the European Green Deal.
The targets and measures set in the directive should be ambitious enough to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% in 2030. This includes the overall renewables target, but also strengthened measures for transport or heating and cooling. The Commission is also aiming at a more energy efficient and circular energy system that facilitates renewables-based electrification, and promotes the use of renewable and low-carbon fuels, including hydrogen, in sectors where electrification is not yet a feasible option, such as transport.
As a first step in the revision process, the Commission published a roadmap on 3 August 2020. The feedback received from stakeholders and the public on the contributed to the Commission’s preparatory work for the review.
A public consultation was launched in November 2020 and closed on 9 February 2021. A short summary was published in March 2021. In addition, 2 stakeholder meetings were organised on 11 December 2020 and on 22 March 2021 to gather input from stakeholders.
Timeline for renewable energy in the EU
Post-Brexit relations on energy falls under the EU-UK Trade Cooperation Agreement and the Euratom-UK Agreement.
- 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)