European Parliament backs higher renewables target and permitting boost

The European Parliament has voted to commit the EU to a higher share of renewables in its energy mix and to accelerate project permitting.

Renewable energy must account for 42.5% of the EU’s final energy consumption by 2030 – up from the current 32% target – in the update of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED).

Member states should aim to have renewables account for an even higher share of 45% of their energy sources, parliament urged.

The RED update – approved with 470 votes to 120 with 40 abstentions – also includes measures to speed up permitting procedures for new renewable energy projects.

National authorities should approve new projects within one year if the project is planned inside a so-called ‘go-to area’ – an area deemed suitable for renewables, in which projects could normally go ahead without further environmental assessments – or within two years if the project is located outside of such an area.

The directive still needs to be formally endorsed by all EU member states before it becomes law.