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Stronger EU renewable energy targets could rid need for subsidies



Renewable energy industry leaders have called on EU heads of state to agree on ambitious climate change targets, while talks get underway in Brussels on Thursday.

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EU leaders will today discuss binding targets that will rule how much of the bloc’s energy must be generated by renewables by 2030, with an agreement to be reached on Friday.

Earlier this year the European Commission voted to cut carbon emissions by 40% by 2030 and set a minimum EU-wide target for renewable energy of 27%. These targets are expected to remain unchanged after this week’s meeting of the European Council.

However, the Renewable Energy Association (REA), the UK’s largest renewables trade body, has today warned that these targets do not go far enough.

Instead the REA are calling for a trio of targets for greenhouse gas emissions savings, energy efficiency and renewable energy, each of at least 40%.

This, the association said, would provide send a strong market signal and improve investor confidence, enabling the continued growth that could allow almost all renewable technologies to operate without subsidies by 2030. 

“People working in UK renewables simply don’t know whether the government wants the industry to keep growing or not,” said REA chief executive Nina Skorupska. 

“There have been so many mixed signals this parliament that it has become almost impossible for our members to plan and invest for their future.

“With clear market signals though, renewables will be the cheapest source of low carbon energy, without the need for subsidy, well before 2030.”

The REA’s call echoes that of a coalition of business lobby groups and trade unions, which yesterday urged leaders to support the low-carbon transition needed to avoid the most destructive impacts of climate change.

The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) warned there would be “no employment and social justice on a devastated planet”.

The vice-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has also criticised the proposed 2030 targets, claiming that they do not go far enough and will leave future governments with much to do if the union is to meet its mid-century targets. 

It is thought the success of the EU targets will prove crucial in the run up to UN climate negotiations to be held in Paris next year, where a similar global deal must be agreed.

Photo: Attilio Lombardo via Free Images

Further reading:

Business lobby urges European leaders to set ambitious climate change targets

Europe 2030 emission targets need to go further, says IPCC vice-chair

New lignite coal plants threaten EU climate change targets

Ambitious energy efficiency targets are key to combating climate change

EU agrees on 40% emissions cut and 27% renewables targets


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