European countries on Wednesday endorsed a provisional agreement with the European Parliament, setting a headline target of 32 percent energy from renewable sources for 2030.
"This new regulatory framework will pave the way for Europe's transition towards clean energy sources such as wind, solar, hydro, tidal, geothermal, and biomass energy," the European Council said in a statement.
The deal, reached by the negotiators of the Bulgarian Presidency at the fifth trilogue meeting with the Parliament on June 14, will also allow Europe to "maintain its leadership role" in the fight against climate change and in meeting the goals set by the Paris Agreement, the Council added.
Bulgaria's Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova praised the endorsement. "I am very pleased that member states have given their agreement to the compromise text today," she said. "With the new EU-wide target of 32 percent for energy from renewable sources, Europe is showing leadership in the transition to clean energy."
WindEurope, the voice of the European wind industry, also welcomed the agreement, calling it "a good step forward".
"European countries agreed today on a target of 32 percent renewable energy by 2030. This is a good step forward. It's significantly higher than the European Commission’s proposal of 27 percent back in 2016," CEO Giles Dickson said in a statement issued later on Wednesday.
"But the Clean Energy Package is not over yet. The Parliament and Member States still need to agree on re-designing Europe's electricity market to accommodate more renewables," he added.
According to WindEurope's statement, the agreement requires member countries to provide at least five years' visibility on public support for renewables, including the timing, volumes and budget for future auctions.
The deal also includes an investment protection clause preventing retroactive policy changes to existing renewable energy projects, it said.
The revised renewable energy directive endorsed by the EU ambassadors is one of the eight legislative proposals of the clean energy package which the Commission presented in November 2016.
The Council adopted its position on the proposal on Dec. 18, 2017, which enabled the Bulgarian Presidency to start trilogue negotiations with the European Parliament on Feb. 27, 2018.
"Today's endorsement by EU ambassadors means that the directive can be submitted for approval to the European Parliament, where the plenary vote is expected in October, and then back to the Council for final adoption," the Council said.
The directive will enter into force 20 days following its publication in the Official Journal of the EU.
By Gulsen Cagatay