European co-ops respond to provisional deal on renewable energy directive

Copa and Cogeca viewed the agreement as “an acceptable compromise” but REScoop criticised it for sticking to 42.5% and not the minimum 45% target

The European Council and Parliament have reached a provisional agreement to raise the share of renewable energy in the EU’s overall energy consumption to 42.5% by 2030. Sector-specific targets were also agreed for transport, industry, buildings and district heating and cooling.

Copa and Cogeca, which represent European farmers and agri co-ops, said they considered the outcome “an acceptable compromise”.

“As the primary sector is key for renewable energy production, Copa and Cogeca welcome the increase of targets set in trilogue for 2030. The overall renewable energy target will shift from 32 to 42.5%, the binding target of renewables in transport from 14 to 29%, the GHG intensity reduction target from 6 to 14.5% and the sub-target for advanced biofuels is set at 5.5% in the final compromise found,” the two said in a joint statement.

Copa and Cogeca also welcomed the accelerated phase-out of palm oil in crop-based biofuels. 

“Sustainable crop-based biofuels remain the main source of renewable energy in transport and cannot be ignored,” they said. “They are part of a value chain that generates protein-rich co-products, which can be diverted towards food production or animal feed in case of shortages.

“Some important improvements were also made compared to the European Parliament’s position on the aspects linked to the forest biomass. There will be no secondary legislation mandating the cascading use of biomass. We welcome the fact that the provisional agreement covers a more balanced approach that takes into account national specificities. Sill, some provisions remain very challenging and will have an impact on sustainable forest management practices leading to additional costs and burdens for forest owners.”

Meanwhile, REScoop, the European European federation of citizen energy co-operatives, criticised the agreement for lacking ambition. In a social media post the apex said it was disappointed the agreement stuck to 42.5% and not the minimum 45% target. 

“We risk killing the momentum of Europe’s energy transition,” it warned. “Citizens are and will continue to contribute to increasing renewables production and reinforcing local security of supply.”

First introduced in 2009, the Renewable Energy Directive was revised in 2018 and became legally binding in 2021. It sets a common target – currently 32% – for the amount of renewable energy in the EU’s energy consumption by 2030. It also includes clause for a possible upwards revision by 2023. In 2022 the Commission the proposed to increase the target in the directive to 45% by 2030.

The provisional political between the Council and the Parliament will now need to be endorsed by both institutions.