Renewable energy should account for at least 35% of energy consumption in the European Union (EU) by 2030, according to a series of clean-energy regulations adopted by the European Parliament on Wednesday. Renewable sources currently cover 17% of EU energy consumption. Member states had agreed to a target of 27% by 2030, but the parliamentarians have now set a more ambitious goal.
The 35-percent objective is valid for all member countries. However, each country is free to determine its contribution, although the amended text obliges them to report their national plans and sets benchmarks in case countries veer away from the objectives set.
The European Parliament’s regulations will serve as a basis for its future negotiations with the European Council, which includes the heads of state or government of all member countries. Whatever the agreement that comes out of those discussions, it will have an impact on Belgium’s energy policy.
According to the European statistical office, Eurostat, renewable energy’s share of energy consumption in Belgium was one of the lowest in the EU in 2015. With 7.9% of its energy coming from renewable sources, Belgium was at the back of the EU pack, together with Luxembourg and Malta (5% each) and the Netherlands (5.8%).
The parliamentarians also looked at the issue of energy efficiency on Wednesday, adopting a proposal to reduce EU energy consumption by 35% by 2030. Progress in this regard would enable Europe, among other things, to reduce its CO2 emissions, thus helping it to conform to the Paris Agreement on climate, but also to cut back on energy imports from Russia, which amount to about 350 billion euros per year.