Writing in France’s prestigious centre-left daily newspaper Le Monde, Peter Altmaier, the German environment minister, and Delphine Batho, his French counterpart, underlined the need for a 2030 renewable energy target and highlighed the importance of renewables in transforming the European economy, improving energy security and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“We want to make the energy transition [moving to produce a significant amount of electricity from renewables] the new motor of the Franco-German couple,” stated the letter. It noted that the two countries recently decided to create a joint renewable energy office that will focus on promoting cooperation between companies, and on encouraging political and scientific collaboration on renewables.
France is aiming to reduce the share of nuclear in its electricity production from 75% to 50% by 2025, to increase the country’s energy efficiency by around 20%, and by 2020 to produce around 23% of electricity from renewables, according to Ms Batho. Germany, meanwhile, wants by 2022 to no longer produce any energy from nuclear power and by 2030 to produce at least 50% of its electricity from renewables.
This does not mean that the two countries plan to become clones. “Each of our countries has its energy model, but reinforcing the cooperation between our two countries will contribute significantly to reaching these objectives,” said the ministers.
This initiative is hugely important since Franco-German cooperation will be critical if the EU is to to achieve a stable energy, and in particular renewables, market and a common legislative framework underpinned by a 2030 renewable energy target.
Moreover, cross-party consensus in Europe will facilitate the agreement of a 2030 climate and energy package after the next European elections – Ms Batho comes from the centre-left of the political spectrum, while Mr Altmaier is of the centre-right.
The arguments set out in the article also focus heavily on the importance of renewables and freeing Europe from the shackles of importing large amounts of its energy for the future competitiveness and economic and industial development of the EU. “A common energy policy is vital to assure the competitiveness of Europe,” insisted the ministers.