EUR-Lex Access to European Union law

Back to EUR-Lex homepage

This document is an excerpt from the EUR-Lex website

Promotion of the use of renewable energy

The Commission proposes a framework for the promotion of energy from renewable sources, including national targets to be achieved by 2020 and measures to guarantee the quality of the energy produced.


Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 January 2008 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources.


The objective of this proposal is to establish a framework for the promotion of energy from renewable sources, with a view to achieving the European Union (EU) target of a 20% share of renewable energies by 2020, indicated in the Renewable Energy Road Map.

Renewable energy production targets

The objective of the proposal is to require Member States to achieve renewable energy production targets by 2020 in electricity, heating and cooling and transport. For pre-2004 Member States, these targets are to increase the share of renewable energies in these countries by about 6% to 13% compared to 2005 and, for Member States which joined in 2004 or afterwards, by about 5% to 10% compared to 2005. Intermediate trajectories are also laid down for each country. Moreover, Member States must ensure at least a 10% share of energy from renewable sources in transport by 2020.

Member States must draw up national action plans, describing the measures they intend to take to achieve their respective targets, and forward them to the Commission by 31 March 2010. These plans may be revised in the case of non-respect of the intermediate trajectories.

Guarantee of origin

Member States must guarantee the origin of electricity and heating or cooling energy produced in plants with a capacity of at least 5 MWth, in response to a request from an energy producer. Transmitted electronically and with a unique identification number, the guarantee of origin must specify the energy source used, the sector concerned (electricity or heating and/or cooling) and the country of issue. Any refusal to recognise a guarantee of origin issued by another Member State must be justified by objective criteria.

Member States must designate a competent body responsible for issuing and cancelling guarantees of origin and keeping a national register. A guarantee of origin must be cancelled where the production of energy covered by this guarantee receives financial or fiscal support or a payment or where the energy produced is taken into account for the purposes of assessing compliance with a renewable energy obligation or where an energy supplier or energy consumer chooses to use it for the purpose of proving the share or quantity of renewable energy in its energy mix.

The guarantees of origin submitted for cancellation may, under certain conditions, be transferred by the Member State issuing them to another Member State; they are then cancelled by the competent body in the receiving Member State. Moreover, persons established in different Member States may transfer guarantees of origin to one another if the installations concerned became operational after the entry into force of the proposed Directive. Member States may establish a system of prior authorisation for the transfer of guarantees of origin to or from persons established in other States.

When a Member State cancels a guarantee of origin that it did not issue, the corresponding quantity of renewable energy is deducted from the total quantity produced during the year by the issuing State and added to the total quantity produced during the year by the cancelling State.

Environmental sustainability of biofuels and bioliquids

 The proposal provides that, to be taken into account in this proposal, biofuels and bioliquids must meet the following environmental sustainability criteria: a greenhouse gas emission saving of at least 35%, calculated according to a method described in this proposal; absence of provenance from land with high biodiversity value (forest undisturbed by human activity, nature protection area, highly biodiverse grassland) or with high carbon stock (wetlands, continuously forested areas); and, in the case of European production, compliance with the environmental requirements applicable to direct aid under the common agricultural policy.

The Commission also proposes a framework for verification of compliance with the environmental sustainability criteria, based on the use by economic operators of a mass balance system and on submission of reliable information by these operators to the Member State requesting it. On decision by the Commission, bilateral and multilateral agreements concluded between the Community and third countries may serve as proof of compliance with the environmental sustainability criteria.

Member States must ensure that information is made available to the public on the availability and content of biofuels and that filling stations with more than two pumps that sell diesel fuel supply this fuel with in each case a higher proportion of biodiesel by the end of 2010 and the end of 2014 respectively, in accordance with the criteria laid down in this proposal.

Other obligations

The proposal contains guidelines with a view to ensuring that the administrative procedures and national regulations are streamlined, clear, objective, transparent and non-discriminatory. The use of energy from renewable sources must also be considered when renovating or constructing public buildings, integrated into the building regulations and promoted by means of certificates and appropriate standards. The relevant information must be made available to consumers, builders, installers, architects and suppliers.

The transmission and distribution system operators must guarantee the transmission and distribution of electricity produced from renewable energy sources, provide them with priority access to the grid system and promote this access, including by publishing the rules relating to sharing the costs of technical adaptations and bearing all or part of these costs. Furthermore, the charging of transmission and distribution fees for electricity from renewable energy sources must not discriminate against this type of electricity.

Member States must report to the Commission on promotion and use of energy from renewable sources by 2011 and then every 2 years, on the basis of which the Commission will draw up a monitoring and analysis report.


This proposal is part of the "energy and climate change" package launched by the Commission at the beginning of 2008.

References and procedure


Official Journal


COM(2008) 19

OJ C 118 of 15.5.2008


Last updated: 23.04.2008