The EU has set ambitious targets on renewables, but the real challenge starts now

(EurActiv, 31 Mar 2023) EU policymakers have reached a provisional agreement on the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive, showing a high level of ambition. But the real challenge lies in the national implementation, write Pia Kerres, Malte Gephart and Corinna Klessmann.

Pia Kerres, Malte Gephart and Corinna Klessmann are experts with Guidehouse, a global management consultancy advising energy providers, corporations, and the public sector.

The EU has agreed on a new renewable energy target of 42.5% by 2030. More than one and a half years after the European Commission (EC) tabled its proposal for a Renewable Energy Directive (REDIII), and after months of negotiations with the European Parliament and the Council of the EU, a provisional compromise was reached on 30 March 2023.

REDIII is a central piece of the EU’s “Fit for 55” package of energy and climate laws and will substantially shape the EU’s path towards decarbonisation.

The renewable energy target

Member states have committed to collectively reach a share of at least 42.5% of renewable energy sources (RES) in the EU’s gross final energy consumption by 2030. There is also an option for an additional 2.5% indicative top-up that increases the overall target to 45%.

Though the relevance of the indicative top-up is questionable, the overall target is still remarkable. It is almost double the EU’s current RES share (21.8% in 2021) and significantly increases the 2030 ambition compared to the REDII target of (at least) 32% RES by 2030.

For REDIII, the EC had initially proposed a target of 40%, which was already at the upper end of a preceding impact assessment. The global energy market disruption caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has catalysed the EU to truly understand the central role of RES in energy security and arguably has made this deal possible.

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EurActiv, 31 Mar 2023: The EU has set ambitious targets on renewables, but the real challenge starts now