EU countries eye scaling down 45% renewables target


EU countries are considering revising REPowerEU, the European Commission’s plan to shift away from Russian fossil fuels, including scrapping a proposed 45% renewable energy target for 2030, according to a document seen by EURACTIV.

The amendments made by EU countries to the European Commission’s REPowerEU proposal released in May could hamper the deployment of renewable energy, which is crucial to wean the bloc off Russian fossil fuels and lower energy prices.

The amendments replace the 45% target set for pushing renewables in Europe’s energy mix to 45% with the 40% target agreed by EU countries in June.

This is below both the European Parliament’s and the European Commission’s positions, which both support the 45% target.

This has raised concern of environmental NGO, such as WWF.

“Raising the share of renewable energy to 45% by 2030 is our chance to address a threefold crisis at once: the climate breakdown, access to secure energy, and reducing energy prices for consumers in the medium term,” climate and energy policy officer at WWF Europe Romain Laugier told EURACTIV.

“If EU governments are truly committed to solving all three, they should sign up to this higher renewable energy target,” he added.

EU member states have kept the Commission’s proposal to create ‘go-to’ areas for renewbales, or places that are suitable for renewable energy projects where they can be streamlined.

However, EU member states increase the length of time required for permitting processes in those areas under the amendments. While EU countries will still need to make sure that the permit-granting process does not exceed a year for projects in go-to areas and two years elsewhere, the extension period for both has been increased.

The amendments also remove the European Commission’s attempt to enshrine into EU law the principle that the expansion of renewables should be treated as a matter of “overriding public interest.”

Such principle would help protect new renewable projects against legal challenges, which have delayed the construction of wind farms in countries like France.

There are now concerns that watering down these measures may slow down the deployment of renewables and hinder the delivery of European energy security.

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