Friday 8 December 2017

Renewable energy directive vote: No binding targets, but a strong framework for citizen energy

Recently, the Industry, Transport and Energy committee of the European Parliament voted a draft report on the proposed directive for the promotion of renewable energy. Although strong cases had been made for the support of nationally-binding targets, the final vote only endorsed an EU level target, of 35% (instead of 27% as originally proposed by the Commission). On a brighter side, the proposals for community energy were well reinforced in the report.

An EU-wide 35% target with increased flexibility at national level

In addition to the targets not being nationally-binding, the report grants a 10% flexibility to Member States that deviate from their trajectory in the event of "exceptional and duly justified" circumstances, a controversial provision which led the Greens to vote against the report. According to green MEP Claude Turmes, in such conditions “it seems highly unlikely that the overall EU target will be met. With negotiations with the member states yet to begin, the parliament should not agree such a weak starting position."

Community energy has the wind in its sails

On top of being given a new legal basis, “renewable energy communities”, as they are called in the directive proposal, are granted a more favourable framework in this new directive.
Article 4 of the report suggests alternative competitive bidding procedures, or exemptions, should be put in place for these community-oriented projects, as well as for small installations or demonstration projects. Member States will in addition be asked to publish a long-term schedule for planned support and regular assessment of the support schemes will have to happen at least every 4 years. In addition, the document also suggests that the integration and deployment of renewable energy at all governance levels should be legally supported by Member States, including “early spatial planning, needs and adequacy assessments taking account of the energy efficiency and demand response, as well as specific provisions on renewable self-consumption and renewable energy communities”.

Last but not least, the report introduces a new provision requiring Member States to remove all regulatory and administrative barriers to the development of community energy projects and regularly assess progress.

This is it for 2017. Stay tuned early 2018 for the plenary vote on the directive, scheduled in January!

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by Alix Bolle on 8 December 2017 / 1070 visits

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