David McAllister MEP: On the Renewable Energy Directive
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David McAllister MEP: On the Renewable Energy Directive

We need a rapid and financially viable expansion of renewable energies to achieve the European climate targets and fulfil our commitments to the Paris Climate Agreement. To break away from energy dependencies and increase our energy sovereignty, we need to diversify the European energy supply and accelerate the expansion of renewable sources of energy. This is how Europe can notably cut energy ties with Russia and maintain its energy security.

We need all forms of renewable energies. This is why the EPP Group has fought for higher renewables targets. We support the new overall target of 42.5 percent of renewables on final energy consumption by 2030. This is a very important increase from the target of 32 percent of the previous Directive.

The EPP Group managed to secure a sub-target of 5.5 percent for advanced biofuels of which at least 1 percent need to be e-fuels in the share of renewable energies supplied to the transport sector. This opens the door to the use of e-fuels across all modes of transport. Furthermore, innovation quotas were included. Each Member State shall set an indicative target of at least 5 percent with innovative renewable energy technology to incentivise technologies beyond the state of the art.

Faster permitting and authorisation procedures were also agreed. The EPP Group pushed through that the expansion of renewable energies may now be classified as “overriding public interest” until climate neutrality is achieved and renewable acceleration areas can be designated.

In July 2021, the European Commission proposed the Fit for 55 package, a central part of the European Green Deal, adapting existing climate and energy legislation to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. A crucial element was the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) in which an increase of the share of renewable energies in final energy consumption was proposed. The proposal was to increase from 32 percent (RED II) to 40 percent (RED III) by 2030.

In light of the Russian war of aggression, the EPP proposed to raise this target to 45 percent. The European Commission followed his proposal via its REPowerEU proposals in May 2022. The Council kept its ambition of 40 percent. In the final trilogue on 29 and 30 March 2023, an agreement was found at 42.5 percent. This significantly higher target is another success of the EPP Group.

The provisional agreement still needs to be approved by Member States and the European Parliament. The plenary vote is currently planned for June 2023. Sustainability criteria still apply. However, sustainable forest management also includes the removal of woody material: untended or unthinned forests act as fire accelerators during drought. We also want to establish climate-adapted forests. Concerning wood, the so-called cascade principle, i.e. a utilisation hierarchy, was included to achieve the greatest possible CO2 reduction effect. It makes no sense to burn high-quality roundwood if it can be used sustainably in wooden houses or for furniture. For the energy transition in general, we need all energy sources, including biomass. What share the various energy sources will have in each national energy mix will be decided by the markets. Biomass will continue to occupy an important position. Biomass remains 100% eligible as renewable energy. No phase-out for the use of biomass as an energy source, as demanded by the Socialists and Greens, is included in the trilogue agreement. This provides planning security to farmers and municipalities all over Europe.