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The European Union (EU) and its parliament negotiators have reached a tentative agreement to raise the proportion of renewable energy in the bloc’s energy mix, as part of its efforts to expedite its transition to a sustainable future.
EU Agrees on Plan to Increase Renewable Energy Target to 42.5% by 2030
After extended negotiations, the European Council, which represents all 27 member nations, revealed that the proposed agreement would raise the renewable energy target to 42.5% of total consumption by 2030, from its current level of 32%. This step is seen as crucial in achieving the EU’s objective of being climate neutral by 2050.
Additionally, the EU executive commission had supported a higher target of 45%, which was acknowledged by the council and parliament negotiators who agreed on an “additional 2.5% indicative top-up” that would allow for the attainment of the higher goal. The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine has also hastened the EU’s move towards renewable energy, which has been accompanied by a reduction in the bloc’s reliance on Russian fossil fuels. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expressed confidence that the agreement announced on Thursday would enable “more ambitious and faster rollout of renewables.”
Based on EU data, the bloc saw a decline of 19.3% in gas consumption between August 2022-January 2023 compared to the average for the same months from 2017 to 2022. Last year, wind and solar power generated a new record of 22% of the EU’s electricity, surpassing gas, which made up 20%, while coal accounted for 16%, according to a review by global energy think tank Ember.
Negotiations between the European Parliament and the European Council prolonged into the night due to disagreements over the role of nuclear energy in hydrogen production, but the final agreement permits countries to use nuclear technology. The agreement sets a target for 42% of the hydrogen used in industry to come from renewable fuels of non-biological origin by 2030, increasing to 60% by 2035.
If EU countries producing hydrogen from nuclear energy reduce their overall renewable hydrogen production target by 20% while also reducing the share of hydrogen derived from fossil fuels, they can benefit from this agreement. Nonetheless, formal approval is still required for the deal to take effect.
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