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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



Directive 2009/28/EC — promoting the use of energy from renewable sources


  • This directive, which amends and repeals earlier Directives 2001/77/EC and 2003/30/EC, creates a common set of rules for the use of renewable energy in the EU so as to limit greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and promote cleaner transport.
  • 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.

Directive (EU) 2015/1513 amends both Directive 2009/28/EC and the EU’s law on the quality of petrol and diesel fuels (Directive 98/70/EC). Among other things, it aims to start the transition from conventional* (first generation) biofuels to advanced* (second generation) biofuels that deliver substantial greenhouse gas savings. It introduces a 7 % cap on conventional biofuels to count towards the renewable energy directive targets for final consumption of energy in transport in 2020.


It has applied since 25 June 2009. EU countries had to incorporate it into national law by 5 December 2010.


  • This directive forms one of the 20-20-20 targets from the EU’s 2020 climate and energy package. The other 2 targets are to, by 2020,
    • reduce GHG emissions by 20 % from 1990 levels and
    • improve energy efficiency by 20 %.

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


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

Conventional biofuels: made from food crops, such as sugar, starch and vegetable oils. They are produced from land using feedstock, which can also be used for food and feed.

Advanced biofuels: made from sources that do not compete directly with food and feed crops, such as wastes and agricultural residues.


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 (OJ L 140 of 5.6.2009, pp. 16-62)

Successive amendments and corrections to Directive 2009/28/EC have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.


Directive 98/70/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 October 1998 relating to the quality of petrol and diesel fuels and amending Council Directive 93/12/EEC (OJ L 350, 28.12.1998, pp. 58-68)

See consolidated version.

last update 08.11.2016