Since the introduction of the Renewable Energy Directive (2009/28/EC), the share of renewable energy sources in EU energy consumption has increased from 12.5% in 2010 to 21.8% in 2021. Sweden had the highest share of renewables in its consumption (62.6%), ahead of Finland (43.1%) and Latvia (42.1%), as reported to Eurostat.
The EU is already a global leader on renewables when it comes to technology development and deployment. However, its competitiveness on global renewable energy markets could be further strengthened, as confirmed by a report on the EU’s global leadership in renewable energy, published in 2021.
Under the European Green Deal, renewable energy is a pillar of the clean energy transition. It comes at a low cost and is home-grown, which reduces Europe’s dependency on external suppliers. This is why the EU’s level of ambition on increasing the share of renewables in its energy mix and the measures needed to achieve this are regularly revisited.
The revised Directive
Given the need to speed up the EU’s clean energy transition, the Renewable Energy Directive EU/2018/2001 was revised in 2023.
The revised Directive EU/2023/2413 entered into force on 20 November 2023.
There will be an 18-month period to transpose most of the directive's provisions into national law, with a shorter deadline of July 2024 for some provisions related to permitting for renewables.
It sets an overall renewable energy target of at least 42.5% binding at EU level by 2030 - but aiming for 45%.
- 20 November 2023
Revised Directive EU/2023/2413 entered into force
REPowerEU Plan: new EC proposal to further raise the renewable energy target
Fit for 55: EC proposal to revise the directive and raise the target for 2030 to 40%
EU power production from wind and solar surpass coal for the first time
Revised Renewable Energy Directive: 32% renewables target for 2030
Onshore wind is cheaper than coal, gas and nuclear energy
Renewable Energy Directive: EU target of 20% renewables by 2020 and national binding targets
Olmedilla Photovoltaic park (Spain) - largest power plant (60MW) in the world - generates enough to power 40 000 homes/year
Directive on biofuels and renewable fuels for transport: national targets for biofuels
Directive on electricity production from renewables: national indicative targets
First large-scale offshore wind farm (Denmark)
Energy for the future: renewable sources of energy: indicative EU target of 12% renewables by 2010
Germany introduces first feed-in-tarif for renewables
In July 2021, the Commission proposed a revision of the directive, raising the 2030 target to 40% (up from 32%), as part of the ‘Fit for 55’ package, together with measures to increase renewables across the economy.
Less than a year later, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the need to accelerate the EU’s independence from fossil fuels, the Commission proposed to further increase the target to 45% by 2030, together with measures to accelerate permitting for renewables.
On 30 March 2023, a provisional agreement was reached for a binding target of at least 42.5% by 2030, but aiming for 45%.
The new legislation was published on 31 October 2023 and entered into force 20 days later.
New measures for further uptake of renewables
Building on the 2009 and 2018 directives, the revised directive introduces stronger measures to ensure that all possibilities for the further development and uptake of renewables are fully utilised. This will be key to achieving the EU's objective of climate neutrality by 2050 and to strengthen Europe's security of energy supply.
In addition to the new headline target to double the existing share of renewable energy sources, a strong policy framework will facilitate electrification in different sectors, with new increased sector-specific targets for renewables in heating and cooling, transport, industry, buildings and district heating/cooling, but also with a framework promoting electric vehicles and smart recharging.
To support renewables uptake in transport and heating and cooling, the revised directive converts into EU law some of the concepts outlined in the energy system integration and hydrogen strategies, published in 2020. These concepts aim at creating an energy-efficient, circular and renewable energy system that facilitates renewables-based electrification and promotes the use of renewable fuels, including hydrogen, in sectors like transport or industry where electrification is not yet a feasible option. For these hard-to-electrify sectors, the directive sets new binding targets for renewable fuels of non-biological origin.
As an important bottleneck to the deployment of renewables on the ground, permitting procedures will also be easier and faster both for renewable energy projects (including through shorter approval periods and the creation of 'Renewables acceleration areas') and for the necessary infrastructure projects.
As we phase out fossil fuels, bioenergy will also have a role to play. Therefore, the sustainability criteria are reinforced by the revised directive.
The Renewable Energy Directive (2018/2001/EU) entered into force in December 2018, as part of the Clean energy for all Europeans package, aimed at maintaining the EU’s status as a global leader in renewables and, more broadly, helping it to meet its emissions reduction commitments under the Paris Agreement.
It established a new binding renewable energy target for the EU for 2030 of at least 32%, with a clause for a possible upwards revision by 2023. This target is a continuation of the 20% target for 2020. In order to help EU countries deliver on this target, the directive introduced new measures for various sectors of the economy, particularly on heating and cooling and transport, where progress has been slower (for example, an increased 14% target for the share of renewable fuels in transport by 2030). It also includes new provisions to allow citizens to play an active role in the development of renewables by enabling renewable energy communities and self-consumption of renewable energy and established better criteria to ensure bioenergy's sustainability.
- Revised Renewable Energy Directive (EU/2023/2413)
- Proposal for an amendment to the Renewable Energy Directive (COM/2022/222) (May 2022)
- Proposal for an amendment to the Renewable Energy Directive to implement the ambition of the new 2030 climate target (COM/2021/ 557) (July 2021)
- Revised Renewable Energy Directive (2018/2001/EU)
- Clean energy for all Europeans package
- Renewable Energy Directive (2009/28/EC)
- News: EU agrees stronger legislation to accelerate the rollout of renewable energy (30 March 2023)
- Study: EU’s global leadership in renewables (September 2022)
- REPowerEU: affordable, secure and sustainable energy for Europe
- Study: Technical support for RES policy development and implementation (September 2021)
- European Climate Law
- Delivering on the Green Deal
- Energy communities