Published on January 23rd, 2014 | by Joshua S Hill2
EU Sets Binding Renewable Energy Targets After Tough Negotiations
Announced on Wednesday, the new framework includes a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 40% below 1990 levels, a Union-wide binding target for renewable energy of at least 27%, renewed ambitions for energy efficiency policies, a new governance system, and a set of new indicators to ensure a competitive and secure energy system.
“Climate action is central for the future of our planet, while a truly European energy policy is key for our competitiveness,” said European Commission President José Manuel Barroso. “Today’s package proves that tackling the two issues simultaneously is not contradictory, but mutually reinforcing.”
“It is in the EU’s interest to build a job-rich economy that is less dependent on imported energy through increased efficiency and greater reliance on domestically produced clean energy,” continued Barroso. “An ambitious 40% greenhouse reduction target for 2030 is the most cost-effective milestone in our path towards a low-carbon economy. And the renewables target of at least 27% is an important signal: to give stability to investors, boost green jobs and support our security of supply.”
While the 27% is a step in the right direction, some critics are suggesting that it doesn’t go far enough, specifically in regards to the lack of nationally binding targets.
“While it is pleasing to see the EU Commission recognise that renewable energy is a key part of future energy solutions across Europe, the lack of ambition in not ensuring there are national binding targets for renewable energy is a disappointment,” said RenewableUK Chief Executive Maria McCaffery. ”This is a missed opportunity for member states to take collective and serious action on the drive for clean, sustainable, renewable energy, which is the best option for reducing our carbon emissions.”
The United Kingdom was one of the loudest voices during negotiations, calling for at least a 40% cut in greenhouse gas emissions, and RenewableUK hope that the UK will similarly lead the way with binding renewable energy targets.
“The Commission has gone out of its way to point out that member states are still free to set their own nationally binding renewable energy targets, so it is not too late for the UK Government to take leadership on this issue,” said McCaffery. “To meet the binding Greenhouse Gas targets and also the UK Government’s stated aim of tackling climate change, we need to keep investing in the world beating renewable sources we have, which can also bring thousands of jobs and help our energy security.”
The 2030 framework will be supported by a detail analysis on energy prices and costs, which assess the key drivers and compares prices across the European Union with those of its main trading partners.