The European Union has pledged to source 42.5 per cent of its energy from renewable sources such as wind and solar by the end of the decade.
The 27 nations that form the EU have reached a deal to almost double the share of energy originated by renewable technologies in the next seven years.
According to a statement from the Council of the EU, with this agreement the EU aims to “fast-track the deployment of renewable energies” as part of the EU’s plan “to become independent from Russian fossil fuels, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine”.
Following overnight negotiations, the European Parliament and Council negotiators have reached an agreement that stipulates the proportion of renewable energy in the EU's total energy consumption must reach 42.5% by 2030, with an added "aspirational" top up of 2.5%.
The Renewable Energy Directive (RED) target falls short of the MEPs' desired 45% but surpasses the member states' preference of 40%. Moreover, it represents a noteworthy surge from the previous 2030 objective of 32%. European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen welcomed the political agreement, writing on Twitter that it “will help us progress towards climate neutrality, strengthen our energy security and boost our competitiveness – all at once”.
To reach this goal, the bloc would have to double its current production of renewable energy, which in 2021 represented 21.8 per cent of energy consumed in the EU, according to Eurostat.
The amount of energy consumed from renewable technologies in the EU varied from country to country. Presently, Sweden has the highest dependence on green energy sources, with a 63% share. On the other hand, in Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, and Ireland, renewable sources constitute less than 13% of their overall energy consumption.
Attaining the newly established objective would necessitate significant investments in wind and solar farms, a scale up in the manufacturing of renewable gases, and a reinforcement of Europe's power grids to integrate more clean energy. The European Commission has stated that additional funding of €113bn (£99bn) will be required by 2030 for renewable energy and hydrogen infrastructure. This investment is crucial if EU countries are to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels from Russia.
The RED announcement follows the UK’s publication of its new green energy strategy earlier this week. The strategy to "power up Britain" highlighted the government's commitment to investing £20 billion in carbon-capture technology, as well as launching a £160 million fund to support offshore port infrastructure projects for wind energy.
The new renewables targets are awaiting approval by the European Parliament and EU countries to become legally binding.