The European Union Parliament voted Wednesday to increase its renewable energy goal for 2030 from a goal of 27% to a new target of 35%, which will now be taken to EU member states in upcoming talks.
Announced on Thursday, Member of the European Parliament voted to endorse committee proposals to increase the binding European Union-level renewable energy targets from the originally proposed target of 27% to a new target of 35% by 2030. The Parliament will now take these proposals in negotiation with EU ministers from individual member-states, which will then develop their own national targets to support the larger EU-wide target.
“The European Commission was too timid in its proposal,” explained Jose Blanco Lopez (S&D, ES), rapporteur for renewables, in explaining the need to increase the target. “If Europe wants to fulfil its Paris commitments, to fight climate change and to lead the energy transition, we need to do more. Parliament was able to achieve a broad consensus for significantly higher 2030 targets. We also managed to reinforce self-consumption as a right, to bring security and certainty to investors, to raise the ambition for decarbonising the transport sector, as well as the heating and cooling sectors. Decarbonisation is not a drag on economic growth. On the contrary, it is the driver of competitiveness, economic activity and employment.”
European Parliament also agreed on increasing the EU’s energy efficiency target to a minimum of 35% — binding for the EU as a whole but indicative for national targets — and a move to ensure that 12% of the energy consumed in transport comes from renewable energy sources. Members are also hoping to ban the use of palm oil from 2021 onward. Finally, Members expect that by 2022, 90% of the fuel/petrol stations along the roads of the Trans-European Network will be equipped with recharging points for electric vehicles.
“After the very weak deal reached by the Council in December on the Clean Energy package, I am proud that Parliament today contributed to restore EU’s credibility on climate,” added Claude Turmes (Greens/EFA, LU), co-rapporteur for governance. “Increased ambition on renewables, energy efficiency and a strong governance system based on a carbon budget approach will contribute to the achievement of a net-zero carbon economy by 2050 and to comply with the Paris Agreement. The Parliament will show a united front when entering into negotiations with the Council.”
The move has similarly been praised by environmental and energy groups.
“The European Parliament’s vote for a binding 35% renewable electricity target is an important step towards ensuring Europe’s long term competitiveness,” said Sam Kimmins, Head of RE100, The Climate Group. ““With more than 100 international corporations now committed to sourcing 100% renewable electricity through RE100, ambitious market change is well underway — and we urge the members of the European Council to ensure there’s a supportive policy framework.”
“Good on the Parliament,” added Giles Dickson, WindEurope CEO, the EU’s wind energy trade body. 35% makes sense economically.”
“Consumers benefit — wind is now the cheapest form of new power generation in Europe. And wind is a key part of European manufacturing and exports — it supports 263,000 jobs in Europe industry and contributes €36bn to EU GDP. A 27% target puts all that at risk. And 27% carries a major opportunity cost.
“The difference between 27% and 35% in wind is €92bn investments not made and 136,000 jobs not created. And other sectors would miss out too with a lower target: every €1,000 invested in wind creates €250 value for the wider supply chain including chemicals, steel and construction. The Commission is starting to get it: they think going beyond 27% is cost-effective. Denmark and Portugal are also calling for a higher target: others in the Council now need to reconsider.”