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New EU Renewables Energy Directive gets final greenlight

The Council of the European Union has adopted a new Renewables Energy Directive aimed at increasing the share of renewable energy in the EU's overall energy consumption to 42.5% by 2030, with an additional 2.5% indicative top-up for a target of 45%. Member states will collectively work towards this target and also commit to sector-specific goals in transport, industry, buildings, heating, and cooling to accelerate the integration of renewables.

In the transport sector, member states can choose between a binding 14.5% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity from renewables by 2030 or a binding share of at least 29% of renewables in the sector's final energy consumption. The directive establishes a binding 5.5% sub-target for advanced biofuels and renewable fuels of non-biological origin (renewable hydrogen and hydrogen-based synthetic fuels) in the share of renewable energies supplied to the transport sector.

In the industry sector, there is a binding annual increase of 1.6% in the use of renewable energy, with specific targets for hydrogen use from non-biological sources (42% by 2030 and 60% by 2035. For buildings, heating, and cooling, there is an indicative target of at least a 49% renewable energy share in buildings by 2030. Renewable targets for heating and cooling will gradually increase, with a binding increase of 0.8%/year at national level until 2026 and 1.1%/year from 2026 to 2030.

The directive strengthens sustainability criteria for biomass energy use to promote responsible bioenergy production. It also aims to expedite permit procedures for renewable energy projects to reduce reliance on Russian fossil fuels.

The directive has been formally adopted and will enter into force in 20 days, with member states having 18 months to incorporate it into national legislation. This directive is part of the broader 'Fit for 55' package, aligning the EU's energy and climate goals with the objective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030. It revises the existing directive, which had set a 32% target for renewable energy by 2030.

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