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Heads of State miss the chance to back renewable energy in Europe
European Heads of State missed the opportunity to set an ambitious target for renewable energy in the 2030 climate and energy framework.
The European Council's decision to set an EU-binding target of 27% showed a lack of ambition to improve Europe's energy security. Governments also ignored calls from the renewable energy sector and European business leaders for a nationally-binding target of at least 30%.
Thomas Becker, chief executive officer of the European Wind Energy Association, said: "The 27% target is disappointing and is contrary to the incoming Commission's plans to make Europe the world leader in renewables," adding that, "the EU urgently needs to put in place a legal and regulatory framework for renewable energy for the post-2020 period."
"A governance structure will send a signal that Europe is open for business on renewables and will contribute to the region's competitiveness, security and position in the global technology race," he said.
Furthermore, uncertainty remains over the enforceable nature of any national renewable energy objectives as Member States are themselves expected to define their commitments to collectively deliver on the EU-wide objective.
For the wind industry, this clarity is crucial with financiers needing long-term regulatory stability and visibility from national governments.
The Council's decision to set a non-binding interconnectivity target also shows a lack of aspiration.
Becker said: "The interconnectivity target is bewildering given the current political challenges Europe is facing. We're in the midst of an energy crisis with Russia holding Member States to ransom over gas supplies. Yet Heads of State see fit to trot out a meaningless target that will do nothing to improve connection in the Iberian Peninsula or the security of supply in the Baltic States, let alone allow an internal energy market to develop."
Becker added: "On GHG reduction, this weakens the position of the EU for the climate talks in Paris next year. I can't understand how Member States are going to reach this target and who is guaranteeing that this is not just an empty shell. I can assure you that the other climate negotiators are very good at finding the holes in the cheese."