Renewable Energy Directive Recast (RED II)

European Panel FederationClimate & EnergyRenewable Energy Directive Recast (RED II)

Renewable Energy Directive Recast (RED II)

In December 2018, the recast Renewable Energy Directive 2018/2001/EU entered into force, as part of the Clean energy for all Europeans package, aimed at keeping the EU a global leader in renewables and, more broadly, helping the EU to meet its emissions reduction commitments under the Paris Agreement.  The recast directive moves the legal framework to 2030 and sets a new binding renewable energy target for the EU for 2030 of at least 32%, with a clause for a possible upwards revision by 2023, and comprises measures for the different sectors to make it happen.

For the wood-based panels industry, the main element of the EU’s Energy Union Package is the European Commission’s proposal (COM(2016) 767 final/2) for a recast of Directive 2009/28/EC on the promotion of renewable energy sources, commonly known as the Renewable Energy Directive recast, or RED II.

As of mid-2018, RED II is agreed at the European Council level and awaits publishing in the Official Journal of the European Union.  After this it will be issued to Member States for individual implementation. RED II covers the period up to 2030 and the most significant target is that by 2030, at least 32% of Europe’s energy should come from renewable sources.

EPF’s advocacy on RED II focused mainly on ensuring that a level playing field exists for the purchase of woody biomass as used in wood-based panels.  For this to happen it was important for RED II to prescribe that subsidies for bioenergy from biomass should not distort raw materials markets, and also for the principles of the circular economy and waste hierarchy to be respected.  EPF celebrated the conclusion of the RED II negotiations with the following press release.

On 14 July 2021, as part of the so-called ‘Fit for 55’ Package, the European Commission published its proposal for an Amendment of the Energy Efficiency Directive to implement the ambition of the new 2030 climate target (COM(2021) 558).

EPF is delighted to note that the amending Directive mentions the cascading principle 17 times, envisages a phasing out of electricity production from biomass by 2026 and requires the elaboration of a Delegated Act on the application of the cascading principle within a year following entry into force.

Moreover, during the Press Conference held for the presentation of the ‘Fit for 55’ package, Commissioner Simson (DG ENER) made the following statement:

“It is obvious that bioenergy will be part of the Green Deal only if it is produced sustainably. […] We therefore propose to make the sustainability criteria for the woody biomass stricter. […] It is common sense that we must use wood where it adds more value, like in furniture, construction and high-quality wood should not be burned for energy. […] To ensure that public subsidies do not send the wrong signals we are setting up new and more stringent rules on State Aid for bioenergy”.

EPF will monitor the next stages and closely follow the upcoming negotiations with the co-legislators – Council and Parliament – that will start in September. Engaging in the definition of the cascading principle for biomass will thus be a key focus for EPF in the months ahead within RED II negotiations but also also with other related publications, namely: LULUCF, the new EU Forest Strategy, the operational guidance on the sustainability criteria (Q2 2022) and the rules to verify sustainability and greenhouse gas emissions saving criteria (Q2 2022).