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Euro-MPs back people-powered renewables

29 November 2017, 17:59 CET
Euro-MPs back people-powered renewables

Solar panels - Photo © vencav - Fotolia

(BRUSSELS) - MEPs in committee voted Tuesday for new binding targets for energy efficiency and use of renewables, calling for recognition of the right of Europeans to produce and sell their own renewable electricity.

The European Parliament's Industry and Energy Committee agreed a binding target to reduce energy consumption by 40% by 2030 at EU level, more ambitious than the EU Commission which had proposed a reduction of 30%.

Each EU country will have to set its own corresponding national energy-efficiency targets that are needed to reach the overall goal of 40% reduction in energy consumption. These would cover all stages of the energy chain, including generation, transmission, distribution and end-use.

The 40% binding target for energy-efficiency would translate into an energy consumption at EU level of maximum 1132 Mtoe of primary energy, and 849 Mtoe of final energy. This would mean a reduction by 34%, and 31%, respectively, compared to 2005 levels.

In a separate vote, energy committee MEPs agreed that by 2030, a minimum of 35% of all energy consumed in the EU would need to come from renewable, cleaner sources. For the transport sector, at least 12% of the energy consumed in each member state would have to be produced from renewables, such as the sun or wind.

National authorities need to make sure that financial programmes, supporting measures which increase the share of electricity produced from renewables, are stable and predictable, say the MEPs. They should refrain from making frequent changes and avoid all retroactive changes.

The committee amended the legislative proposals to make sure that consumers who produce electricity on their premises are entitled to consume it and install storage systems without having to pay any charges, fees or taxes. They also asked Member States to assess existing barriers to consuming energy produced on your own premises, to promote renewable self-consumption being developed further.

MEPs want to help people setting up renewable energy co-operatives in their communities, where they can install solar panels, wind turbines or hydroelectric power jointly. They are asking Member States to ensure that consumers, particularly households, can join such renewable energy communities without being subject to unjustified conditions or procedures.

A report released last year by Greenpeace suggested that half of all EU citizens could produce their own electricity by 2050, meeting nearly half of the EU's electricity demand. Power companies would provide the remainder of Europe's renewable electricity.

Greenpeace say that to limit global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees, as agreed at the Paris climate conference in 2016, the EU must increase its renewable energy target to at least 45 per cent by 2030, and transition to a system entirely powered by renewables within a generation, .

The two legislative resolutions now need to be voted on by the full Parliament during the January plenary session to give MEPs the mandate to start negotiations with EU governments.

Further information, European Parliament

Procedure file - energy efficiency

Procedure file - renewables

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