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EU urged to set 2030 renewable energy target



Ministers from some of the EU’s largest economies have called on the European commission to set an ambitious 2030 target for renewable energy use. The UK, however, remains opposed to such a target, despite voices in the industry arguing it would provide a necessary boost to investor confidence.

A 2030 renewables goal would reduce dependency on fossil fuel imports and boost domestic jobs and economic growth, ministers from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Portugal say in a letter dated December 23, and seen by Reuters.

“A target for renewable energy is crucial to provide certainty that can ensure cost-effective investments in energy systems that will strengthen the internal market for energy”, the ministers said in the letter to Connie Hedegaard, the EU commissioner for climate action, and Guenther Oettinger, commissioner for energy.

The letter also calls for a binding 2030 target of a 40% cut in greenhouse gas emissions, something that the commission is said to already be considering. The executive body is expected to release a package on January 22 to start the legislative process. 

The new targets would replace the three 2020 targets of a 20% emissions cut from 1990 levels, a 20% share for renewable energy and energy savings of 20% of 1990 levels.

The group say Europe must act as an example, to inspire progress in climate action in the build up to crucial UN negotiations in Paris next year.

Britain’s energy and climate change secretary Ed Davey supports the emissions reduction target, but opposes any renewables target because the UK hopes to use nuclear power and energy efficiency to meet such commitments.

This approach has been criticised by leaders in the renewable industry.

“The 2020 renewable energy targets have been the most effective policy driver for expanding the share of renewables in the energy mix the world has ever seen. Clearly defined, long-term targets give investors great assurance and confidence that renewables is a growth market”, said Nina Skorupska, chief executive of the trade body the Renewable Energy Association (REA).

“It is disappointing that the UK continues to oppose 2030 renewables targets, but the countries calling for these targets outnumber those opposing. We will continue to make the case for 2030 renewables targets in the run up to the publication of the commission’s proposals later this month.”

Further reading:

UK wind power ends 2013 on record-breaking high

Renewable energy share in Europe up to 14.4% in 2012

UK will miss 2020 renewables target but we ‘shouldn’t let up the pressure’

96% of the renewables industry apprehensive about UK targets

The Guide to Limitless Clean Energy 2013