European Parliament agrees to boost renewable energy target, ban palm oil biodiesel

The European Parliament approved draft measures yesterday that called for a renewable energy target for member-states for 2030 of 35%, rather than 27%, which the European Commission proposed in 2016 and the EU national governments agreed to last December.

“After the very weak deal reached by the Council in December on the Clean Energy package, I am proud that Parliament today contributed to restore EU’s credibility on climate. Increased ambition on renewables, energy efficiency and a strong governance system based on a carbon budget approach will contribute to the achievement of a net-zero carbon economy by 2050 and to comply with the Paris Agreement. The Parliament will show a united front when entering into negotiations with the Council,” said Claude Turmes (Greens/EFA, LU), who represents the Greens/European Free Alliance and is a co-rapporteur for governance.

The difference between 27% and 35% could mean EUR 92 billion (USD 112.57 billion) less in future investments for the sector, claims WindEurope, which represents Europe’s wind energy industry.

“Consumers benefit – wind is now the cheapest form of new power generation in Europe. And wind is a key part of European manufacturing and exports – it supports 263,000 jobs in Europe industry and contributes EUR 36 billion (USD 44 billion) to EU GDP. A 27% target puts all that at risk. And 27% carries a major opportunity cost. The difference between 27% and 35% in wind is EUR 92 billion investments not made and 136,000 jobs not created. And other sectors would miss out too with a lower target: every EUR 1,000 (USD 1,223) invested in wind creates EUR 250 (USD 306) value for the wider supply chain including chemicals, steel and construction. The Commission is starting to get it: they think going beyond 27% is cost-effective,” said Giles Dickson, WindEurope CEO.

The EU lawmakers also agreed to a binding overall energy efficiency target of 35% after 2021, compared to a 30% non-binding target proposed by member-states last year.

Transport: more advanced biofuels, palm oil to be phased out by 2021

In 2030, each member-state will have to ensure that 12% of the energy consumed in transport comes from renewable sources. The contribution of so-called “first generation” biofuels (made from food and feed crops) should be capped to 2017 levels, under the draft measures, with a maximum of 7% in road and rail transport. MEPs also want a ban on the use of palm oil from 2021.

The share of advanced biofuels (which have a lower impact on land use than those based on food crops), renewable transport fuels of non-biological origin, waste-based fossil fuels and renewable electricity will have to be at least 1.5% in 2021, rising to 10% in 2030.

Charging stations

By 2022, 90% of fuel stations along the roads of the Trans-European Networks should be equipped with high power recharging points for electric vehicles, say the MEPs.

The European Parliament, the executive European Commission and EU national governments must now negotiate together on the final legislation.

The draft measures would help the European Union meet its overall goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, following the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to no more than 2 degrees, the European lawmakers said.