The Renewable Energy Association (REA) is calling on European leaders to set effective renewable energy targets for EU Members States in the 2030 energy and climate framework, which will be finalised at a meeting of the European Council.
With continued growth and an effective carbon price, almost all renewable technologies – across heating, power and transport – could be providing low carbon energy without subsidy by 2030. This means renewables are likely to be the cheapest supply-side option for achieving the stretching 2030 greenhouse gas targets that will be required to avoid dangerous climate change.
Dedicated renewable energy targets for Member States will assure investors of the ongoing market opportunity in renewable technologies, facilitating stable growth, the development of domestic skills and supply chains and, ultimately, the sustained cost reductions that will take these technologies to zero subsidy.
The Commission has proposed an EU-wide renewable energy target of “at least 27%” (alongside a 40% reduction in greenhouse gases and a 30% increase in energy efficiency). This is a weaker market signal than the 20% renewables target in the 2020 framework, as the figure is not ambitious and the target is not binding on individual Member States.
The REA echoes the call of the European Renewable Energies Federation for a trio of targets for greenhouse gas savings, energy efficiency and renewable energy, each of at least 40%. To maximise their effectiveness, these targets should be legally binding and distributed to Member State level. This would give a UK renewables target of approximately 30%.
REA chief executive, Dr Nina Skorupska said: “People working in UK renewables simply don’t know whether the government wants the industry to keep growing or not. 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. 2030 renewables targets for Member States will give businesses the certainty they need.
“If this doesn’t happen, it will be up to the UK government to set out its own vision for renewables in the 2020s and beyond. As renewables businesses are usually smaller and younger than fossil fuel and nuclear companies, a ‘technology neutral’ framework will leave them at a disadvantage. With clear market signals though, renewables will be the cheapest source of low carbon energy, without the need for subsidy, well before 2030.”