The European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) also wants to score a hat-trick. Their new publication proposes three targets to drive EU energy policy after 2020: renewable energy, greenhouse gas emissions and energy efficiency.
“This would yield more benefits for European citizens and industries than a one-legged policy” based on a greenhouse gas only approach, say EREC.
“The message is simple: if you want to lower costs, create jobs, replace fossil fuel imports and drive innovation, competitiveness and investment, then a hat-trick of climate and energy goals works best”, said Rainer Hinrich-Rahlwes, President of EREC.
EREC are talking about 2030 targets now, as the current EU plans only go as far as 2020 – less than a decade away, which in terms of planning infrastructure for the energy business is the blink of an eye. A 2030 target is a vital signal for investors, as it decreases uncertainty which in turn reduces risk, and therefore cost. It would also ensure that the net growth in GDP that the EU currently gains from renewable energy would continue. In addition, a 2030 target would decrease the need for support mechanisms, reduce the costs of decarbonisation, allow Europe to maintain its “first mover advantage” in renewable technology, replace fossil fuels imports, create jobs and create a cleaner environment.
“The successful economies of the next decades will be those which decrease resource use and greenhouse gas emissions while creating new businesses through technology leadership, technology deployment and increasing employment the way renewable technologies do” said Hinrich-Rahlwes.
The EU does not yet have 2030 targets, but the European Commission’s recent Green Paper on a “2030 framework for climate and energy policies” presents 2030 targets as a key policy option. The EU does have the European Commission’s Energy Roadmap 2050, which identifies renewable energy, energy efficiency and infrastructure as “no regrets options”, meaning that in any given scenario they are critical for future decarbonisation.
The European Parliament and the Energy and Climate Action Commissioners support 2030 targets, however there is disagreement in the European Council – made up of ministers and representatives from national governments in the EU. EWEA has urged the Council to join the Parliament and Commissioners in agreeing to a 2030 renewable energy target alongside a carbon cutting target. (See EWEA Press Release EU Commission’s 2030 energy policy needs binding renewables target).
Regrets are certainly what the EU will have if it has to send representatives to the next international climate negotiations without a 2030 target. In typical understatement, Josche Muth of EREC described the job of negotiating in Paris in 2015 without new emissions targets as “hard”. Targets are concrete examples of European commitment to reducing emissions, and the strongest hand to play when convincing others that we are taking renewable energy, the climate and our citizens’ health and wealth seriously.
Read the EREC report Hat-trick 2030 – An integrated climate and energy framework