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Summaries of EU Legislation

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Promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources

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Promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources

The control of energy consumption and the increased use of renewable energy sources are key to tackling climate change. Here, the European Union (EU) establishes a common framework for the production of renewable energy and the promotion of its use.


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



This directive, which amends and appeals earlier Directives 2001/77/EC and 2003/30/EC, creates a common framework for the use of renewable energy in the EU so as to limit greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and promote cleaner transport. To do so, it sets targets for all EU countries with the overall aim of making renewable energy sources account for 20 % of EU energy and 10 % of energy specifically in the transport sector by 2020.


  • Each EU country is to make a national action plan for 2020, setting a share for renewable energy sources in transport, heating and the production of electricity.
  • To help achieve targets cost-effectively, EU countries can exchange energy from renewable sources*. To count towards their action plans, EU countries can also receive renewable energy from countries outside the EU, provided that energy is consumed in the EU and that it is produced by modern/efficient installations.
  • Each EU country must be able to guarantee the origin of electricity, heating and cooling produced from renewable energy sources.
  • EU countries should build the necessary infrastructure for using renewable energy sources in the transport sector.
  • Biofuels and bioliquids must be made sustainably, not using raw materials from lands with high biodiversity value. In the European Commission’s proposal to amend the EU law on the quality of petrol and diesel fuels, the contribution that biofuels make towards the attainment of national targets is sought to be limited.


This directive forms one of the 20-20-20 targets from the EU’s 2020 climate and energy package. The other two targets are to, by 2020, reduce GHG emissions by 20 % from 1990 levels and to improve energy efficiency by 20 %.


* Energy from renewable sources means energy from non-fossil sources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, hydropower, biomass and sewage treatment plant gas (e.g. methane).

For more information, see the European Commission’s renewable energy website.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2009/28/EC



OJ L 140 of 5.6.2009, pp. 16-62


Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 98/70/EC relating to the quality of petrol and diesel fuels and amending Directive 2009/28/EC on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (COM(2012) 595 final of 17 October 2012).

last update 06.08.2015