This briefing examines the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) under the REPowerEU Package and its implications for accelerating Europe’ transition to a fully sustainable renewable energy system and achieving net zero emissions by 2040.
Even though there was already an urgent need to speed up the deployment of renewables in order to stop using fossil fuels driving the climate crisis, since the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, pressure increased on Member States to act quickly also to achieve energy security. Member States need to ensure the acceleration of the energy transition is keeping people and biodiversity at the heart.
Below are some of the key recommendations within this briefing:
Renewable energy policies need to be in line with the Paris Agreement: As it stands, the proposal within the REpowerEU package to increase the EU renewable energy target from 40% to 45% is a step in the right direction, but the proposed level of ambition is still too low and not in line with the Paris Agreement’s objective to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C. CAN Europe supports an EU binding target for the share of energy from renewable sources in gross final energy consumption of at least 50% by 2030.
Planning and mapping of renewable energy resources: In order to fully exploit the local potential of renewable energy resources, sufficient areas at regional or local level should be designated that are suitable for the deployment of renewable energy, taking also into account the corresponding grid infrastructure. This planning and mapping should create more clarity – including for the larger public – where renewable energy projects can be developed while promoting cautious use of land, seas and natural resources.
Seizing opportunities for accelerated deployment: Member states need to consider a wide array of options to ensure an accelerated energy transition that keeps people and biodiversity at its heart. For instance, exploring the potential of rooftop solar PV or looking at installing solar PV in parking lots, along highways and train tracks. Member States should also look more into options of using brownfields such as old quarries, closed mines or old industrial areas.
Ensure fast permitting is effectively leading to faster deployment: There have been several calls for faster permitting of renewable energy projects because Member States need to significantly increase the deployment of sustainable renewable energy. Findings from numerous reports have revealed that numerous barriers block, slow or hinder the deployment of wind and solar, and that barriers related to administrative processes are among the biggest roadblock to developments in Europe. Opportunities for faster permitting of renewable energy projects should be taken, but careful consideration to certain types of renewable energy projects as faster permitting might lead to undesirable results such as a slower deployment rate, higher costs and lower public acceptance.