European Parliament’s energy committee endorses 35% renewable energy target for 2030
The European Parliament’s energy committee ITRE has adopted changes to the EU’s renewable energy directive (RED) to include a new binding 35% green energy target for 2030 as well as a new set of principles on future financial support to renewable energy sources.
Spanish S&D member José Blanco López, who is responsible for steering the plans through Parliament, said: “Europe needs to do more. It needs more ambition for renewable energy if it wants to fulfil its Paris commitments, fight climate change and lead the energy transition.”
The update is needed as the EU is committed to boosting renewable energy. A binding target to reduce energy consumption by 40% by 2030 at EU level was agreed by the Industry and Energy Committee (ITRE) on Tuesday (28 November, 2017). MEPs wanted to be more ambitious than the EU Commission, which had proposed a 30% reduction.
In a separate vote, which also took place on Tuesday, Industry and Energy Committee MEPs agreed that by 2030, a minimum of 35% of all energy consumed in the EU would need to come from renewable, cleaner sources. For the transport sector, at least 12% of the energy consumed in each Member State would have to be produced from renewables, such as the sun or wind.
European Waste-to-Advanced Biofuels Association (EWABA) welcomes ITRE’s decisions to improve the general target for the use of renewable energy (35%), to establish a specific target for the use of renewable energy in the transport sector (at least 12%), and to increase the incorporation obligation for fuel suppliers (up to 10%).
In a statement, EWABA stated that certain amendments approved are particularly positive for the waste-based biofuels industry at large, in particular regarding the widening of the definition of advanced biofuels (which now encompasses non crop-based sustainable biomass, thus allowing for a wide array of waste-based biofuels using feedstocks outside of part A of Annex IX to be labelled as “advanced”) or the flexibilisation of the EU-wide 1.7% cap for the use of feedstocks in part B of Annex IX, which was recently described by the ART Fuels Forum as “conservative” and unjustified.
EWABA secretary general, Angel Alvarez Alberdi, said: “Today’s vote sets the scene for a solid Parliament first reading position, to be adopted by the plenary in early 2018. Waste-based biofuels will undoubtedly play a major role in the EU alternative fuel mix post-2020. The ITRE report confirms EU policymakers’ trust in the high decarbonisation potential of used cooking oil and animal fats-based biodiesel.”
ITRE does not have competences over the crop cap, as the ENVI committee did. Alberdi told Biofuels International that the ITRE vote “is good for crop-based biofuels because it introduces a general target for the use of renewable energy in transport at 12%”.
‘Fast-track sustainable solution’
Marko Janhunen, chair of Leaders of Sustainable Biofuels (LSB) and VP of Stakeholder Relations at UPM Biorefining welcomed what he called the positive outcome of the ITRE committee. He said that the news demonstrated “increased confidence in advanced biofuels as a fast-track sustainable solution to reduce transport emissions”.
He added: “Now it is time to take action. RED2 done right will enable significant investment opportunities, job creation and reduction of transport emissions. EU member states and the European Parliament should recognize the urgent need to reduce transport emissions.
“They should also recognize that advanced biofuels can play an important role in all member states. Sustainable feedstock is available all over the EU, and advanced biofuels technologies have been developed by numerous companies.
“RED2 done right will be positive to the European economy, and the climate.”