On the 29th of March, EU ministers are expected to negotiate with the European Parliament and the Commission on the EU renewable energy target for 2030. The European Commission and the European Parliament are both in favour of setting the renewable energy target for Europe at 45% by 2030. Crucially, the 45% target was proposed by the European Commission as part of the REPowerEU war response to alleviate Europe’s dependency on Russian gas.
In December, European Ministers agreed to support a target of only 40%. The 40% target is outdated. It was originally proposed in summer 2021, before the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the energy crisis. A number of EU Member States do support the 45% target, including Germany and Spain.
As final EU negotiations take place, it is crucial that the Swedish Presidency sends the right signal for our citizens, climate, and continent. Only a minimum target of 45% renewables, for 2030, keeps Europe on the path for 1.5°C.
A 40% target – as currently endorsed by the Council of the European Union – is not compatible with a 1.5°C global warming limit. Restricting ambition now will only delay the energy transition, prolong our dependence on fossil energy imports, fuel further inflation, and fundamentally compromise our ability to meet legally binding climate targets.
What is the difference between a 40% renewable target and 45% for Europe?
In addition to climate and energy security incentives, a minimum 45% target is a no-regret economic opportunity. Renewables deliver local, future-proof, jobs. In 2021, even in the wake of the pandemic, solar PV employed over 100,000 new people in Europe. Solar PV will employ 1 million people in Europe by 2030.
Renewable value chains will be worth USD $650 billion annually by 2030, according to the International Energy Agency. Europe, and Member States must play their part in the critical value chains of the future. A minimum 45% renewable goal truly commits the continent to clean tech prosperity and sends important signals to investors. In light of global competition for clean tech value chains, a 45% renewable target aligns with the European efforts to support renewable energy manufacturing in Europe.
A 45% renewable target will strengthen EU leadership in innovative technologies. Ultimately this will reduce power systems management costs in ensuring higher diversity of supply.
A minimum 45% renewables in our energy mix is within reach. EU solar PV installations grew by 47% last year to 41.1 GW. The IEA tell us the EU needs at least 60 GW of solar this year to compensate for shortfalls in Russian gas. The direction of travel is there, and a minimum 45% renewables target will reinforce the exponential market growth.
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