Update on Fit for 55 and REPowerEU: fast-tracking of renewable energy projects remains a priority amid initiatives to decarbonise all sectors
New EU legislation to decarbonise sectors across the economy is expected to be finalised in late 2022 and early 2023. As we start November, we look at progress.
Renewable Energy Directive
In September the Parliament provided its position on the proposed amendments to the Directive. The position incorporates the REPowerEU proposal to increase the RES-E target further to at least 45% in 2030. There will also be new targets for renewable power uptake in transport, buildings, district heating & cooling and industry.
The REPowerEU concept of “renewables go-to areas” was not incorporated in the position, but an amendment was adopted requiring, by one year after entry into force, the Commission to revise guidelines to Member States on permitting practices to accelerate and simplify the process for new and repowered projects, to include recommendations on how to implement and apply the rules on administrative procedures in Articles 15 and 17. In the case of a lack of progress, the Commission would implement additional measures to support Member States to reform and streamline permitting procedures.
In October the four column document setting out positions of each of the institutions was published and informal trialogue negotiations on final texts now take place. The Council position retains the REPowerEU proposal to make delivery of renewables in the overriding public interest in the planning and permit-granting process.
Tackling the permit granting process is a political priority and the European Council, following the meeting of late October, called on the institutions to do further work on fast-tracking the simplification of permitting procedures in order to accelerate the rollout of renewables and grids, including through emergency measures. The opening remarks of the meeting referenced the REPowerEU proposals to streamline and speed up the permitting process, and called on the Council and Parliament to have their position ready by early November.
Energy Efficiency Directive
The Parliament provided its position on the proposed amendments to the Directive. Proposed efficiency targets are higher than REPowerEU: 40% (final) and 42.5% (primary) energy consumption reductions in 2030 compared to the 2007 Reference Scenario. The four column document setting out positions has been published and informal trialogue negotiations on final texts now take place. We look in more detail at the background here.
Energy Performance of Buildings Directive
EU energy ministers adopted a general approach on proposed revision of the Directive. The proposal includes that, from 2028, new buildings owned by public bodies will be zero emissions buildings and, from 2030, all new buildings will be zero-emissions buildings. Standards would be required to improve further for existing buildings and e-mobility infrastructure associated with buildings. We look in more detail at the background here. Member States agreed to issue national building renovation plans containing roadmaps for hitting targets, the first of which would issue by 30 June 2026. Proposals in REPowerEU for faster deployment of solar PV on buildings are included. The Commission also endorsed a new Solar PV Industry Alliance, an initiative to come from the Solar Energy Strategy.
Last year the Commission published proposals for a recast Regulation and Directive for renewable and natural gases and for hydrogen. EU energy ministers debated the proposals in late October 2022, with a view to setting a direction for finalising a position in December. A key focus is developing a framework to regulate the hydrogen market, including the appropriate unbundling model, the approach to discounted tariffs, and blending requirements.
Alternative Fuels Infrastructure
The Parliament’s Plenary Session adopted its position on the new Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive. MEPs want car-recharging stations every 60km along main roads, and hydrogen refuelling stations every 100km by 2028. Trialogue negotiations are underway.
The Parliament and Council agreed stricter standards for cars and vans by way of revision to Regulation (EU) 2019/631 on CO2 emissions performance standards for new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles. The agreement includes commitment to end the sale of new CO2 emitting cars in Europe by 2035.
A new Biomethane Industrial Partnership launched by the Commission and industrial partners is intended to support increased production and use of biomethane. It is open to all interested stakeholders.
Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism
Negotiating positions have been published and informal trialogue negotiations are underway.
Recovery and Resilience Facility
The Council and Parliament Committees published their positions on the proposal to add a new REPowerEU chapter to EU Member States’ national recovery and resilience plans under NextGenerationEU, intended to cover the additional funding required to implement REPowerEU. Member States must submit a chapter only where they wish to request RRP additional funding. The proposal will be debated in plenary in the Parliament in early November.
The Commission proposes to mobilise up to €40bn from unallocated Cohesion Policy funds in the 2014-2020 programmes. The proposals are with the Council and Parliament for consideration. Work continues on adopting Territorial Just Transition Plans and Just Transition Fund programmes for Member States.
A Eurobaromoter survey indicated 88% of EU citizens support the goal of green transition that leaves no one behind but only 46% are confident that, by 2050, sustainable energy, products and services will be affordable for everyone. The Economic and Social Committee urged social dialogue to help transition to a low-carbon economy succeed. The EIB’s Climate Survey indicates that 84% of those surveyed believe that failure to drastically reduce consumption of energy and goods will lead to global catastrophe.