The Council of the EU today approved the new renewable energy directive, almost doubling their share of EU energy consumption to 42.5% by 2030, from 22% today.

The new directive also provides for an additional target of 45% that EU member states will try to achieve.

All Member States will contribute to the ambitious targets in the transport sector, industry and buildings, with the aim of accelerating the integration of renewable energy sources in these sectors.

In particular, the new directive foresees an acceleration of the licensing procedures for renewable energy projects.

The aim is to speed up the development of renewable energy sources, under the EU’s REPowerEU plan, so that the EU can become independent of Russian fossil fuels, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Member States will design renewable energy acceleration areas where renewable energy projects will be subject to a simplified and fast permitting process. The development of renewable energy will also be deemed to be of “overriding public interest”, which will limit the grounds for legal objections to new installations.

For transport, Member States will be able to choose between a binding target of a 14.5% reduction in the greenhouse gas intensity of transport from the use of renewable energy sources by 2030 or a binding share of at least 29% of renewable energy sources in final energy consumption in the transport sector by 2030.

For industry, the new directive foresees an annual increase in the use of renewable energy sources by 1.6%. Member States agreed that 42% of hydrogen used in industry should come from renewable fuels of non-biological origin (RFNBO) by 2030 and 60% by 2035.

For buildings, the new rules set an indicative target of at least a 49% share of renewable energy by 2030. The targets for renewable heating and cooling will be gradually increased, with a binding increase of 0.8% per year nationally until 2026 and 1, 1% from 2026 to 2030. The minimum annual average applicable to all Member States is supplemented by additional indicative increases calculated specifically for each Member State.

For bioenergy, the new directive strengthens the sustainability criteria for the use of biomass for energy in order to reduce the risk of unsustainable bioenergy production.

Member States will ensure that the principle of scaling is applied, with a focus on support schemes and taking due account of national specificities.

The European Commission has welcomed the adoption of the final two pillars of its ‘Fit for 55’ legislative package to meet the EU’s 2030 climate targets.

With today’s adoption of the revised Renewable Energy Directive and the ReFuelEU Aviation Regulation, the EU now has legally binding climate targets covering all key sectors of the economy.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “The European Green Deal brings the change we need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. It does so by taking into account the interests of our citizens and providing opportunities for our European industry. Legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 is now in place, and I am very pleased that we are on track to even exceed this target. This is an important message to Europe and our global partners that the green transition is possible, that Europe is keeping its promises».

The new directive was approved by MEPs in mid-September and the green light given today by the Council of the EU (member states), paves the way for its entry into force.