The European Commission is expected to reveal the details of the Revised Renewable Energy Directive (RED lll) in 14 July.
The revision falls under the “Fit for 55” package and is expected to see the EU’s 2030 renewables target increased from 32% to at least 38% to 40% in final energy consumption.
The aim of the 'Fit for 55' package is to revise various energy and emission policies to better align them with the EU’s new goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 55% by 2030 compared with 1990 levels.
Achieving this target of 38-40% essentially means doubling the share of renewables in the bloc's energy mix. Renewables currently account for around 20% of the EU energy mix.
Biomass under pressure
The RED III revision is reported to contain tougher sustainability criteria for biofuels, particularly in relation to forestry biomass.
Reports suggest that the draft European Commission proposal will require biomass-fuelled power and heat plants with a capacity of 5 megawatts (MW) or above to meet stringent new sustainability criteria.
Currently plants below 20MW are exempt from this criteria, which demands proof that the wood fuel provides substantial emissions cuts versus fossil fuels.
To put this into context, around 20% of the EU’s energy mix comes from renewables. More than half of that is biomass. This fuel is considered to have a low carbon footprint, as carbon dioxide emissions produced from burning the wood are partly offset by CO2 absorbed and sequestered by the trees.
It is claimed that these measures are being considered in order to protect delicate woodland ecosystems and maximise the use of wood for other purposes such as furniture making.
Fit for 55
The revisions and initiatives, which relate to the European Green Deal’s climate target plans of a 55% net reduction in emissions, are grouped under the 'Fit for 55' package.
The following initiatives under the package are expected to be formally announced this year: