Documents considered by the Committee on 6 June 2018 Contents

4EU Renewable Energy Directive

Committee’s assessment

Politically important

Committee’s decision

Not cleared from scrutiny; further information requested; drawn to the attention of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee

Document details

Proposal for a Directive on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (recast)

Legal base

Article 194(2) TFEU; Ordinary legislative procedure; QMV


Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Document Number

(38345), 15120/16 + ADDs 1–9, COM(16) 767

Summary and Committee’s conclusions

4.1The Commission’s proposal forms part of the “Clean Energy for All Europeans” package19 proposed by the Commission at the end of November 2016. It aims to boost the proportion of EU energy generated by renewable energy sources.

4.2The Commission set out a range of measures, including: an EU-wide target of 27% renewable energy by 2030; a requirement that any Member State falling below its 2020 target levels should pay into a fund to finance renewable projects; new provisions on financial support for renewable electricity schemes; new measures to boost the share of renewable energy in the heating, cooling and transport sectors; and an extension of the biofuels sustainability criteria. Further details on the proposal were set out in our predecessors’ Report of 25 January 2017.

4.3The Minister for Energy and Clean Growth (Claire Perry) has written to update the Committee on developments. Full details are set out in her letter of 14 May.20 She explains that informal negotiations between the European Parliament (EP) and Council are underway and may be completed by the end of June, although she describes this as “challenging”.

4.4According to the Minister, key outstanding issues include:

4.5We note the divergence of views between the European Parliament and the Council—particularly on the key issues of targets and including the transport sector target—and that the Minister expects reaching agreement to be challenging.

4.6On the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, we recall the Government’s earlier acknowledgement that this Directive may need to be transposed into national law before the end of the post-Brexit implementation period (31 December 2020). Consequently, the negotiations on this Directive are of relevance to the UK, irrespective of the longer-term energy policy relationship between the EU and the UK.

4.7We look forward to a further update on the progress of negotiations. We draw this chapter to the attention of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee.

Full details of the documents

Proposal for a Directive on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (recast): (38345), 15120/16 + ADDs 1–9, COM(16) 767.


4.8In his letter21 of 30 November 2017 the Minister for Energy and Industry (Richard Harrington) updated the Committee and requested a scrutiny waiver in advance of agreement to a possible General Approach at the 18 December Energy Council. He explained that the text of the agreement was still open to change, but that some improvements had already been made in relation to heating and cooling, biomass sustainability and permit-granting. The Government would continue to seek maximum flexibility for Member States to be able to develop their most cost-effective pathway for delivering their ambitious emissions reductions commitments. including deciding what contribution renewable energy should make to meet that commitment, whilst recognising the need for mechanisms to give the EU assurance over the delivery of its objectives on renewables. Any nationally-binding targets or endeavours should not impose significant costs on the UK.

4.9On Brexit, the Minister noted that it was still too early to assess whether and how the EU exit negotiations would affect the Clean Energy Package. While the Government expected the legislation to have been agreed before Brexit, the transposition deadline of at least some of the legislation, including the Renewable Energy Directive, might fall during any implementation period.

4.10In our Report of 13 December 2017, we waived the scrutiny reserve in order that the Government might support a General Approach at the 18 December Energy Council—which it subsequently did—based on the principles set out in the Minister’s letter of 30 November. On the implications of the UK’s exit from the European Union, we took note of the Minister’s view that it was still too early to assess whether and how the EU exit negotiations would affect the Clean Energy Package. We also noted the possibility that the transposition deadline for this legislation may fall within any implementation period. While we accepted that there could be no certainty at that stage over the future relationship in the energy sector, we signalled our continued interest in the matter and our expectation that the Government would continue to negotiate the proposal with EU exit in mind.

Previous Committee Reports

Fifth Report HC 301–v (2017–19), chapter 3 (13 December 2017); Fortieth Report HC 71–xxxvii (2016–17), chapter 5 (25 April 2017); Twenty-ninth Report HC 71–xxvii (2016–17), chapter 3 (25 January 2017).

19 “Commission proposes new rules for consumer centred clean energy transition”, European Commission, 30 November 2016.

20 Letter from Claire Perry to Sir William Cash dated 14 May 2018.

21 Letter from Richard Harrington to Sir William Cash dated 30 November 2017.

Published: 12 June 2018