EU GHG deal calls for 27 percent renewables by 2030

By Erin Voegele | October 30, 2014

On Oct. 24, the European Council issued a statement announcing it has agreed on the 2030 climate and energy policy framework for the European Union. The council has endorsed a binding EU target of at least 40 percent domestic reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030 compared to 1990. The framework also sets a target for renewable energy, calling for at least 27 percent for the share of renewable energy consumed in the EU in 2030. A 27 percent target is also set for energy efficiency.

The U.K. Renewable Energy Association issued a statement noting its disappointment that the pan-EU renewable energy target of 27 percent will provide a weaker incentive for renewables than the current Member State level 2020 targets.

“Almost all of renewable technologies – across electricity, heat and transport – could be delivering cheaper energy than any other form of low carbon generation by 2030. Several could also become the cheapest forms of energy available and no longer require subsidy, as both renewable and fossil energy sources currently do,” said the REA in its statement.

The REA also urged the government to spell out a clear vision for the role it sees renewable energy playing in the 2030 energy mix and the measures needed to achieve this. IN addition, the REA said the U.K. government should continue to push for radical reform of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme to provide an effective carbon price that puts renewables on a level playing field with fossil fuels.

"Now we have the EU 2030 framework in place it’s time to work on delivery. Renewables are the only generation technologies that meet all of the goals we must pursue in parallel. They are genuinely low carbon, improve our energy security and long term bring down costs. Renewables also create jobs and enable ordinary people to invest in energy production,” said Tony Juniper, chair of Action for Renewables. “The UK is doing good work on pushing forward much-needed reforms to the EU ETS. But we now need to build on this good work and unlock the full potential of renewables for transforming our energy system in the 2020s.”

The European Biogas Association also criticized the renewables target. “The 27 percent target is not sufficient enough to deploy potential of renewables, but this is not the biggest headache,” said EBA President Jan Stambasky “What worries us more is the fact that the target is not binding on the Members States level. This can lead to a situation where only certain Member States with national ambitions to realise energy transition invest into new technologies and capacities, while the rest of Europe will lag behind, feeling no obligation to contribute to the EU target.”

Stambasky continued, “The EU leaders seek the ways to reduce dependency on Russian gas, but they still don’t see potential from the local resources like biogas. Now the main task of the industry is to fight for a single European market to trade green gas over borders and to prove its value and potential.”

U.K. Energy and Climate Chang Secretary Edward Davey called the European Council’s announcement historic. “Europe has sent a clear and firm message to the world that ambitious climate action is needed now. True to our word, we have delivered a highly ambitious EU climate target while also significantly strengthening Europe’s energy security by making us less reliant on imported energy. This morning only five countries in Europe had climate targets post 2020, now 28 countries do,” he said. “The UK has been leading the climate debate pushing for an ambitious deal in Europe and by building alliances and working constructively with our European partners, we’ve agreed a package of measures that meet all the UK’s top priorities.”