The renewable energy directive of the European Union (EU) faces a potential breakthrough after the Swedish EU Presidency unveils a proposal to address the impasse created by concerns raised by France.
The EU’s renewable energy directive aims to accelerate the expansion of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power. On March 30, EU countries and the European Parliament reached a tentative political agreement, setting the stage for the directive’s formal approval. However, last-minute opposition from a group of countries, including France, has temporarily halted the adoption of the law and hindered the bloc’s climate change mitigation plans.
France is currently seeking to amend the directive, advocating for a more favourable treatment of nuclear energy, particularly low-carbon hydrogen produced from nuclear sources. The French government argues that the current agreement disadvantages countries like France that heavily rely on nuclear power, despite its low-carbon but non-renewable nature.
Other EU member states, namely Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, have also expressed concerns over the proposed law’s overly ambitious targets for the EU to get 42.5% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030.
With enough voting power to block the directive, these countries have caused apprehension among several EU member states. Some fear that the proposed amendment alters the scope and effectiveness of the renewable hydrogen production target, particularly in the industrial sector.
Stepping into the fray, the Swedish EU Presidency has presented a plan to resolve the deadlock. According to news site Contexte, Sweden has suggested adding a new paragraph to the directive’s preamble, aiming to address the concerns. This change exempts specific forms of low-carbon hydrogen used in ammonia production from the directive’s renewable hydrogen production targets for the industrial sector.
Discussions will continue between EU ambassadors tomorrow (16 June) once countries have had longer to analyse the text, but it is unclear whether there is enough support for either the law as it stands or the revised text with the recital.
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