RED II – A Revised Directive Looking to the Future of Renewable Energy

Posted in: bioenergy

Though RED II looks ahead to long-term decarbonisation, the bioeconomy can still thrive in the short term.

The EU has long championed renewable energy, with the bloc being one of, if not the global leader in the sector. Chief among the reasons behind this success has been the European Commission’s 2009 Renewable Energy Directive (RED), which has laid the groundwork for the majority of EU renewable energy policy since. By setting ambitious, legally binding targets, the RED framework has provided a mechanism for a swift and successful uptake of renewables across the continent and in the vast majority of all member states. Back in 2007, 10.4% of the EU’s energy mix came from renewable sources; the original RED set a target for this figure to be 20% by 2020, and the Union is well on course to reach this target, surpassing 17.5% in 2017.

As with all large policies that effect multiple sectors, they need a refresh after a few years in operation to gauge what was successful what was not, which sectors must continue to be pushed, and what can now be left to the markets. With the RED targets not extending beyond 2020, the Commission has spent the past few years working to update the Directive, both to better reflect the modern renewables landscape, and to provide meaningful targets for the next decade or beyond. The new Directive, dubbed RED II, was published in mid-December 2018– though amendments may still be made – and expands on the precedent set by the original Directive.

One of the most eagerly awaited outcomes of RED II is, of course, the updated targets. According to the Directive, if the current trajectory of EU renewables development and deployment is maintained, the EU will have 24.3% renewables in its energy mix by 2030, which is “well below” where the Union wishes to be. The new legally binding target is 32% by 2030. Member states are, of course, free to set themselves more ambitious targets, but 32% is set to be the minimum. If, however, the Commission deems that the EU is set to comfortably meet this 32% renewables target by 2030, it reserves the right to adjust this target upwards in 2023, if it sees fit.

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This article was written by Bob Horton, Research Analyst at NNFCC.

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