Policy update

The European Commission's renewable energy proposal for 2030

On November 30, 2016, the European Commission (EC) published a formal proposal to the EU Council and the European Parliament to recast Renewable Energy Directive (RED) 2009/28/EC2, which will expire at the end of 2020. The proposed new directive, called RED II, would succeed the existing regulation and enter into effect on January 1, 2021. RED II proposes a set of policy measures to achieve a 27% renewable energy share from energy consumed by the electricity, heating and cooling, and transportation sectors by 2030. The 27% target was endorsed by the EU Council in October 2014 and is binding at the EU level.

Regarding renewable energy for transportation, RED II would mandate that 6.8% of transportation fuels must derive from renewable sources, specifically advanced alternative fuels and renewable electricity. The proposed mandate would apply to fuel suppliers rather than member states, as is the case with RED. According to the proposal, food-based biofuels cannot be counted toward the mandate, and their role in achieving the 27% renewable energy target should decline over time. Advanced alternative fuels, renewable electricity, and food-based biofuels must demonstrate proof of compliance with the sustainability criteria set by RED and extended by the proposed RED II, as well as additional criteria for biomass produced from forestry feedstock.

The EC’s proposal for RED II will go through the ordinary procedure to be published in the Official Journal of the European Union—meaning the EU Council and the European Parliament must approve it before it can come into force. According to the rules of the procedure, there is no time constraint for the approval, but it could take about 15 months from the publication of the proposal. If the EU Council does not approve the Parliament position, the proposal would enter a second reading, in which the Parliament would have 3 months to produce revisions on the EU Council’s position.

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