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EU reaches agreement on Renewable Energy Directive

14 June 2018

Negotiators from the European Parliament and EU member states have agreed on the future renewable energy policy in Europe and reached a compromise on a 32% renewable energy target by 2030, as well as a phase-out plan for palm oil use in transport, according to media reports.

The deal on the Renewable Energy Directive includes a legally-binding EU-wide target of 32% for renewable energy by 2030, with “an upward review clause by 2023 at the latest”. The target for renewable energy in transport was set at 14% by 2030—a move seen as a way to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles.

As part of the transport objective, an agreement was also reached to phase out palm oil by 2030, beginning with a freeze on existing quantities of imported palm oil. The agreed biofuels provisions also include a freeze on so-called “first generation” biofuels like ethanol—which are produced domestically—at the levels of production reached by each EU member state in 2020. A corresponding 3.5% target was set for “second generation” biofuels manufactured from non-food crops, like wood residues.

51% of the palm oil consumed in Europe is used for the production of transportation fuels, such as renewable diesel or biodiesel, which makes drivers the top consumers of palm oil, according to the T&E Group. Malaysia and Indonesia, the two biggest producers of palm oil, have threatened of trade retaliation measures in case a palm oil ban is adopted.

The 32% renewable energy target has been criticized by Greenpeace, who said it “is far too low” and “falls dangerously short of the level necessary to prevent catastrophic climate change”.

Source: Euractiv | T&E