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EU Delays Key Renewable Energy Vote Over Nuclear Disagreement

Sweden, which holds the rotating EU presidency, has dropped a key vote on the bloc’s renewable energy targets from Wednesday’s agenda as member states continue to argue about the role of nuclear power in the clean energy targets, Bloomberg reports, quoting sources familiar with the matter.

In March, the European Union member states and the European Parliament reached a political agreement to raise the targeted share of renewable energy in the EU’s energy consumption to 42.5% by 2030, up from a current target of 32%. The provisional deal needs to be endorsed by the EU member states and the European Parliament to become a binding law.

In the higher renewable energy targets, the EU allowed nuclear power to play a role in the production of green hydrogen at the insistence of France, which gets more than 60% of its electricity from nuclear energy.

EU member states were set to vote on Wednesday to endorse the targets, the so-called Renewable Energy Directive, and potentially pave the way for a final formal vote next week.

But France voiced concerns about the small role of nuclear energy in the clean energy targets, while a number of Eastern European countries expressed concerns about the high cost of accelerating the deployment of renewable energy sources, according to Bloomberg’s sources.

Amid the standoff, the Swedish presidency has stricken out the vote on the Renewable Energy Directive from today’s agenda, the sources said.

The Renewable Energy Directive is a key part of the European Green Deal, the agreement paving the way for the EU to become a carbon-neutral bloc by 2050.

Nuclear energy has been a bone of contention in several pieces of EU legislation in recent months. Last year, the EU decided to include nuclear energy and some natural gas projects and plants as environmentally sustainable economic activities.

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Last month, Greenpeace and other environmental campaign groups said they were taking the European Commission to the European Court of Justice over the bloc’s decision to label nuclear energy and natural gas as climate-friendly investments.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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