Directive on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (RED)
Directive 2009/28/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (Renewable Energy Directive - RED I) set binding targets for the share of renewable energy sources (RES) in the final energy consumption of each EU Member State.
These targets ranged from 10 % (Malta) to 49 % (Sweden) and amounted to an EU share of at least 20 % RES in fnal energy consumption by 2020 - the goal pursued by the EU’s 2020 climate and energy package (along with a 20 per cent reduction, below 1990 levels, in GHG emissions (EU ETS Directive) and a 20 per cent improvement in energy efficiency (Energy Efficiency Directive (EED)).
Furthermore, the RED I:
- set the target of a 10 % share of RES in the transport sector by 2020 (limited progress so far in most Member States),
- introduced a series of cross-border cooperation mechanisms and joint projects to promote RES (low take-up so far in Member States), and
- set out the EU sustainability criteria for biofuels.
In 2015 the RED I and the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) were amended (Directive (EU) 2015/1513 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 September 2015 amending Directive 98/70/EC relating to the quality of petrol and diesel fuels and amending Directive 2009/28/EC on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources) to recognise and mitigate the negative environmental impact of the biofuels production on indirect land-use change and related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
These revisions enhanced the sustainability criteria for biofuels, more stringent requirements of reducing GHG emissions were also specified.
On 30 November 2016, the European Commission launched the Winter Energy Package, which included a recast of the Directive on the promotion of renewable energy sources (Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (recast) COM/2016/0767 final/2 - 2016/0382 (COD) - ‘RED II’).
It was intended to drive progress in meeting the goals of the 2030 EU Climate and Energy Framework, in particular the binding target of a 27 % EU share of RES in final energy consumption by 2030 set by the European Council in October 2014.
The European Council specifed that the 27 % target should be binding on the EU as a whole, but should be achieved without setting legally binding national targets, in order to provide more fexibility for Member States.
The recast RED II provides guiding principles on future financial support schemes for RES, renewable energy self-consumption, renewable energy communities, and district heating and cooling systems.
The recast directive enhances mechanisms for cross-border cooperation, simplifes administrative processes and outlines measures to mainstream the use of RES in the transport and heating and cooling sector.
Moreover, the RED II strengthens the sustainability and greenhouse gas emissions savings criteria for biofuels.
According to the European Commission’s answer of 6 April 2017 to a written Parliamentary question (E-000661/2017) the proposal of the recast of the Renewable Energy Directive did not include any provisions providing support for crop-based biofuels.
Furthermore, it was proposed that the share of crop-based biofuels that could account towards the EU renewable energy target would gradually decrease to 3.8% in 2030.
Moreover the revised RED foresees some structural changes to the EU energy market legislation:
- all monitoring and reporting obligations are transferred to the proposed regulation on energy union governance, and
- provisions relating to grid access are transferred to the regulation on electricity markets.
Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (recast) COM/2016/0767 final/2 - 2016/0382 (COD)
Financial support schemes
1. the EU Member States may apply support schemes so long as these avoid unnecessary distortions of electricity markets, take into account balancing and grid constraints, and respond to market signals through competitive tendering
2. retroactive changes to RES support schemes are forbidden
3. each year the EU Member States must open a minimum share of new support schemes to RES generated electricity from other EU Member States (10 % of new capacity 2021-2025, 15 % of new capacity 2026-2030)
4. the energy produced under these support schemes counts towards the Member States funding the installation
5. long-term schedules on expected financial support schemes must be published, they must cover at least the next three years and include the indicative timing, capacity sought and available budget
RES permit-granting procedure
1. maximum time for the processing of permits:
- three years for new capacity
- one year for requests related to repowering of existing renewable energy plants
- six months if such requests have no signifcant negative environmental and social impacts
2. a simple notifcation procedure for all new RES projects and installations with a capacity of under 50 kW seeking connection to the grid
3. ‘one stop shops’ must be set up to coordinate the permit-granting process for new RES generation, transmission and distribution capacity
Heating and cooling sector
1. the share of renewable energy supplied for heating and cooling should be increased by at least 1 percentage point every year
2. data on the energy supplied for heating and cooling, including the proportion obtained from diferent RES, should be provided by the EU Member States
3. right for consumers to disconnect from inefficient district heating and cooling systems
1. fuel suppliers obliged to include a minimum share of energy derived from biofuels or biogas in the total transport fuels they supply for consumption or use on the market - at least equal to 1.5 % in 2021, increasing annually up to at least 6.8 % by 2030
2. at least 0.5 % of the fuel supply in transport must either come from advanced biofuels (also known as ‘second generation’ biofuels) produced from biomass, or from biogas produced from feedstock, this minimum share increases annually up to at least 3.6 % in 2030
3. a ceiling of 7 % set on the final energy consumption that is accounted for by biofuels produced from food or feed crops (the ceiling reduced annually to no more than 3.8 % in 2030)
4. although the EU Member States remain free to develop a higher share of such biofuels in their energy mix, the volumes above the ceiling do not contribute towards meeting their RES targets
5. the existing requirement for a 10 % share of biofuels in transport is removed
6. gas can be produced from renewable sources, whether of biological origin (‘biogas’) or non-biological origin (e.g. hydrogen fuel), such forms of renewable gas are considered RES and contribute towards calculating the share of RES in the final energy consumption, as well as become eligible for EU financial support schemes (guarantees of origin, etc.)
Sustainability and GHG emissions-saving criteria for biofuels, bioliquids and biomass
1. a new sustainability criterion for forest biomass
2. the required GHG emissions savings from biofuels and bioliquids increased to at least 70 % for installations starting operations from 2021 onwards, and at least 80 % for electricity, heating and cooling from biomass
3. the latter target would increase to 85 % for installations starting operations from 2026 onwards
4. existing or forthcoming installations would only need to meet the less stringent requirements of the existing RES Directive: at least 50 % for installations in operation before 5 October 2015; and at least 60 % for installations in operation from 5 October 2015.
Trilogue negotiations for the recast Directive started in February 2018 and concluded with a provisional agreement on 14 June 2018.
The agreed text was subsequently endorsed by Coreper (29 June) and the ITRE committee (10 July) and submitted for formal approval in a plenary session of the Parliament and afterwards by the Council.
The Provisional Agreement of 27 June 2018 resulting from inter-institutional negotiations), in particular:
- set a 32 % binding EU target for the share of RES in final energy consumption by 2030, to be met by indicative national contributions (individual EU Member States cannot go below their RES share for 2020, listed in the existing directive), the European Commission should re-assess the 32 % target by 2023,
- made the opening of RES support schemes to cross-border capacity an indicative choice for Member States, setting targets of 5 % per annum for the period 2023-202) and then 10 % per annum for 2027-2030 (the European Commission had proposed more ambitious and binding targets that would take effect earlier).
The Provisional Agreement set a binding EU minimum target of a 14 % RES share in the transport sector, calculated as a proportion of fuel supplies on the EU market.
The share of conventional biofuels on road and rail are to be capped at 7 % EU-wide, with additional caps on the EU Member States where the share is already below this level.
Advanced biofuels should rise from low levels to a minimum share of 3.5 % by 2030.
Use of biofuels that rely on high risk of indirect land-use-change crops (including palm oil) are to be capped at 2019 levels in each EU Member State, gradually reducing to 0 % by 2030 (this can be assessed as less radical than the European Parliament proposal to stop recognising palm oil as a RES from 2021, but does also encompass other crops used to produce biofuels).
The European Commission is required to adopt a delegated act in 2019 on certification schemes for biofuels, and apply these criteria to RES calculations over the ensuing decade.
The Provisional Agreement set higher GHG emissions savings criteria for biofuels and bioliquids.
Moreover, the EU Member States are expected (but not obliged) to increase their share of heating and cooling from RES by 1.3 % per annum, with a lower target (1.1 %) set for Member States where waste heat or cold are not used in their energy systems.
New installations, from 2021, will need to reduce GHG emissions by 65 % (compared to equivalent fossil fuels) in order to be defined as a RES.
Biomass for electricity, heating and cooling will need to reduce GHG emissions by 70 % from 2021, rising to 80 % reductions from 2026.
These provisions apply only to new installations (older ones have less stringent criteria that remain unchanged).
The said targets are less ambitious than in the original European Commission proposal (70 % for transport fuels, 80 % for biomass installations from 2021 and 85 % from 2026) and reflect the preferences expressed by both Parliament and Council in the negotiations.
On 21 December 2018 the Directive (EU) 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (RED II) has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union.
The recast directive entered into force on 24 December 2020, when the RED I was repealed.
The transposition date for Member States was set on 30 June 2021.
The RED II is, within the European Union’s legal order a, well-established, cross-sectoral instrument promoting the uptake of renewable energy by targeted measures covering electricity, heating and cooling and transport sectors.
It is noteworthy, in heating and cooling and transport, the Directive incentivises mostly the national action while the European component is stronger in the electricity sector.
The RED II incentivises action in two respects:
-addressing market failures/non-market barriers (e.g. in terms of infrastructure, development of innovative technologies, creation of lead markets or increasing consumer acceptance and uptake),
-ensuring that the overall renewables target is met via national contributions through the governance process, including an indicative formula representing the objective criteria as a basis for the European Commission’s assessment of national ambition.
Fit for 55 amendments
On 14 July 2021 the European Commission presented the Renewable Energy Directive revision (European Commission Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive (EU) 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Directive 98/70/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the promotion of energy from renewable sources, and repealing Council Directive (EU) 2015/652, COM(2021) 557 final).
To reach the 2030 target, the updated Renewable Energy Directive proposed to increase the overall binding target from the 32% to a new level of 40% of renewables in the EU energy mix.
According to the Commission Communication of 14 July 2021 ('Fit for 55': delivering the EU's 2030 Climate Target on the way to climate neutrality, COM/2021/550 final) this "is to be be complemented by indicative national contributions, showing what each Member State should contribute to reach the collective target".
The proposal makes mandatory the current renewable heating and cooling target of a minimum annual 1.1 percentage point increase, with additional indicative national top-ups to guide lagging Member States.
The support measures available will be broader, including planned replacement schemes of heating systems or fossil phase-out schemes with milestones; local and regional heat planning; and heat purchase agreements that groups of small consumers can establish.
The revised Directive also ensures that modern district heating and cooling systems are developed to harness local renewable energy, such as geothermal, ambient and solar thermal sources, and to cost-effectively integrate renewable electricity, renewable gases and liquids for the supply of buildings and other users.
To drive the necessary investment, the proposal raises the indicative target for the annual increase in renewables used in district heating and cooling from the current 1.0 to 2.1 percentage points.