1. How will renewable energy and energy efficiency contribute to the EU’s 2030 target to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55%?
The energy sector accounts for 75% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions. Saving energy through energy efficiency measures and the massive scale up of renewable energy are key to decarbonising the economy – whether in buildings, industry, transport or other sectors. Both measures directly reduce emissions, air pollution and dependency on fossil fuels.
The cheapest and cleanest energy is the energy we don’t use, which is why the Commission is proposing to write the energy efficiency first principle into EU law and to strengthen energy efficiency measures with the revision of the Energy Efficiency Directive. By using less energy, we lower the cost of the green transition, we lower our household bills and use less natural resources.
The EU is today a frontrunner on renewable energy and has already taken significant measures to boost its use. Across the EU, the share of renewable energy in final energy consumption has increased from 9.6% in 2004 to 19.7% in 2019. Currently, 34% of our electricity comes from renewable sources.
Two things are necessary to increase the share of renewable energy: investments in existing and new renewable energy technologies to increase production (and further reduce production costs); and creating an energy system able to integrate large shares of renewables for end users as efficiently as possible. These needs are addressed in the Commission’s proposal to revise the Renewable Energy Directive, which will provide certainty to investors through increased support to renewables in the sectors where progress has not been fast enough and specific promotion of the use of renewable fuels such as hydrogen in sectors that are hard to decarbonise. Additional measures to make permitting processes more efficient and to further promote direct contracts between producers and consumers will also increase the attractiveness of renewable energy projects for private investors.