Promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources

Promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > Tackling climate change

Promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2009/28/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources and amending and subsequently repealing Directives 2001/77/EC and 2003/30/EC (Text with EEA relevance).


This Directive establishes a common framework for the production and promotion of energy from renewable sources.

National targets and measures

Each Member State has a target calculated according to the share of energy from renewable sources in its gross final consumption for 2020. This target is in line with the overall ’20-20-20′ goal for the Community.

Moreover, the share of energy from renewable sources in the transport sector must amount to at least 10 % of final energy consumption in the sector by 2020.

National renewable energy action plans

The Member States are to establish national action plans which set the share of energy from renewable sources consumed in transport, as well as in the production of electricity and heating, for 2020. These action plans must take into account the effects of other energy efficiency measures on final energy consumption (the higher the reduction in energy consumption, the less energy from renewable sources will be required to meet the target). These plans will also establish procedures for the reform of planning and pricing schemes and access to electricity networks, promoting energy from renewable sources.

Cooperation between Member States

Member States can “exchange” an amount of energy from renewable sources using a statistical transfer, and set up joint projects concerning the production of electricity and heating from renewable sources.

It is also possible to establish cooperation with third countries. The following conditions must be met:

  • the electricity must be consumed in the Community;
  • the electricity must be produced by a newly constructed installation (after June 2009);
  • the quantity of electricity produced and exported must not benefit from any other support.

Guarantee of origin

Each Member State must be able to guarantee the origin of electricity, heating and cooling produced from renewable energy sources. The information contained in these guarantees of origin is normalised and should be recognised in all Member States. It may also be used to provide consumers with information on the composition of the different electricity sources.

Access to and operation of the grids

Member States should build the necessary infrastructures for energy from renewable sources in the transport sector. To this end, they should:

  • ensure that operators guarantee the transport and distribution of electricity from renewable sources;
  • provide for priority access for this type of energy.

Biofuels and bioliquids

The Directive takes into account energy from biofuels and bioliquids. The latter should contribute to a reduction of at least 35 % of greenhouse gas emissions in order to be taken into account. From 1 January 2017, their share in emissions savings should be increased to 50 %.

Biofuels and bioliquids are produced using raw materials coming from outside or within the Community. Biofuels and bioliquids should not be produced using raw materials from land with high biodiversity value or with high carbon stock. To benefit from financial support, they must be qualified as “sustainable” in accordance with the criteria of this Directive.


The Directive is part of a package of energy and climate change legislation which provides a legislative framework for Community targets for greenhouse gas emission savings. It encourages energy efficiency, energy consumption from renewable sources, the improvement of energy supply and the economic stimulation of a dynamic sector in which Europe is setting an example.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 2009/28/EC

25.6.2009 5.12.2010 OJ l140 of 5.6.2009

Related Act

Report from the Commission of 25 February 2010 to the Council and the European Parliament on sustainability requirements for the use of solid and gaseous biomass sources in electricity, heating and cooling [COM(2010) 11 final – Not published in the Official Journal]

This Report is accompanied by an impact assessment (SEC(2010)65 ) and a summary of the impact assessment (SEC(2010)66 ).
This Report sets out the results of the assessment carried out by the Commission on the requirements for a sustainability scheme for energy uses of biomass other than biofuels and
bioliquids (i.e. solid and gaseous fuels in electricity, heating and cooling).
In its analysis of requirements for extending the EU sustainability scheme of solid and gaseous biomass in electricity, heating and cooling, the Commission has considered three principles which a European-wide policy on biomass sustainability has to meet:

  • effectiveness in dealing with problems of sustainable biomass use;
  • cost-efficiency in meeting the objectives;
  • consistency with existing policies.

Based on this analysis, the Report concludes that at this stage it is not necessary to establish a binding and harmonised European scheme in this area. The existing measures are sufficient for ensuring that solid and gaseous biomass consumed at EU level in the electricity heating and cooling sectors is sustainable.
However, the Commission makes recommendations related to sustainability and strongly encourages Member States to take them into account in order to ensure consistency between existing or future national sustainability schemes. The recommendations are mainly based on the sustainability scheme included in Directive 2009/28/EC on biofuels and bioliquids.
The Commission specifies that between now and 31 December 2011, it will report on whether national schemes have sufficiently addressed the sustainability issues related to the use of biomass from inside and outside the EU and whether these schemes have led to barriers to trade and barriers to the development of the bio-energy sector. It will consider if additional measures such as common sustainability criteria at EU level would be appropriate.

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