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Renewable energy and biofuels: what does Europe want to achieve?


The European Commission works for the development of renewable sources of energy – wind power, solar power (thermal, photovoltaic and concentrated), hydro-electric power, tidal power, geothermal energy and biomass –   which are essential alternatives to fossil fuels.

The new Directive on renewable energy (Directive 2009/28/EC) establishes a common framework for the promotion of energy from renewable sources. It sets national targets for all Member States, such that the EU will reach a 20% share of energy from renewable sources by 2020 and a 10% share of renewable energy specifically in the transport sector. The new Directive on renewable energy  that should be implemented by Member States by December 2010,  also establishes the sustainability criteria for biofuels. 



Focus on biofuels

With the significant rise in oil prices, the promotion of biofuels for use in transport is a priority on the European political agenda.


What are the directives involved?


  • Under Directive 2003/30/EC ("Biofuels Directive") Europe established the indicative goal of reaching a 5.75% share of renewable energy in the transport sector by 2010.
  • Under the new Directive on the promotion of renewable energy (Directive 2009/28/EC), this share reaches to a minimum 10% in every Member State in 2020.


Did you know that?

The new Directive on renewable energy also aims to ensure that the adoption of biofuels in the EU occurs within a sustainable framework. The objectives are to guarantee clear and net greenhouse gas savings and to minimize negative impact on biodiversity and land use.


Economic  impacts

From an economic point of view the development of biofuels, has contributed to security of supply by decreasing fossil fuel and diversifying fuel consumption in the EU. In 2007 the use of biofuels in the EU represented 3% of the total EU fuel consumption in road transport.

Biomass and biofuel sectors have also contributed to the EU economy by generating additional jobs. In addition, agriculture and forestry play an important role in supplying the fuel for biomass technologies.