Energy Cities joined a wide group of associations, companies, organisations and politicians to urge European Commission’s Executive Vice-President Timmermans, Commissioner Simson and Director-General Juul-Jorgensen not to broaden the scope of the Renewable Energy Directive beyond renewables.
Climate change is the defining challenge of this century. And renewable energy is one of the main pillars of European climate action, resulting in more than one-third of emission reductions to date. All scenarios for the EU achieving its targets under the Paris climate agreement rely on the rapid scaling up of renewable energy.
Beyond emission reductions, investment in renewables brings many benefits: better European energy security, lower fossil fuel import bills, local job creation, better public health, economic development, and the possibility of millions of Europeans to actively participate in and benefit directly from the energy transition.
The main policy tool for promoting renewable energy is the Renewable Energy Directive. It has proven successful in driving down the price of renewable energy technologies and boosting investments in renewables across Europe. However, the current intention to broaden the scope of the Directive beyond renewables is counter-productive and risks promoting the very fossil fuels that renewables should be displacing in Europe’s energy system, as defined in the European Commission’s long-term strategy.
Non-renewable and low-carbon fuels, including so-called ‘low carbon’ fossil fuels, should not be included in any provision under the Renewable Energy Directive nor should they count towards the EU’s binding 2030 renewable energy target. This will generate significant public confusion and undermine trust in the EU’s renewable energy policy which is key to leveraging one of the fastest growing sectors in the economy.