European Parliament proposes nationally binding renewables targets

European Union (EU) Member States are set to be given new mandatory national targets for renewable energy penetration under new proposals put forward today by the European Parliament.

MEPs at the European Parliament have also proposed that the EU should aim to meet 35% of its energy needs with renewables by 2030, up from a current goal of 27%.

The proposal is part of a legislative text submitted under the European Parliament’s reform of the renewable energy directive, which initially set a 20% renewables target for the EU by 2020. This original legislation was first sketched out in 2009, and at the time included binding targets for each EU Member State.

Those national targets were since rescinded, but the new proposals argue for the reintroduction of mandatory amounts of RE for each country, calculated on their current installed levels of wind, solar and biofuels, and their potential to increase that amount.

Aurélie Beauvais, policy director at SolarPower Europe, told pv magazine that MEPs in the Environment Committee had taken crucial steps towards a more committed and ambitious European renewable energy target.

“A 35% renewable energy target will see more jobs and more investments in solar in Europe,” Beauvais said. “This is exactly what we need to accelerate the European energy transition. The fact that they also called for national binding targets fully reflects what we, as the European voice of solar, believe. We hope the European Parliament’s Energy Committee will follow suit in a few weeks.”

SolarPower Europe was the first association to call for a 35% renewable energy target in March 2016, following the signing of the Paris Agreement. “This was in recognition of the huge cost reductions of solar and the increased ambition of governments to tackle climate change,” Beauvais added. “The 27% target proposed by the Commission is a legacy of pre-Paris thinking. The European Parliament has indeed signalled its belief that more should be done.

“The position of the Member States is also crucial, and we urge EU member states to upgrade their renewable energy targets, to match the ambition of the European Parliament.”

The new proposals also state that biofuels should comprise no more than 7% of the final consumption of energy in road and rail transport across the EU, with a complete cessation of the use of palm oil as a biofuel by 2021.

The report’s proposals will be voted by MEPs on November 28.