EU raises tar­get for re­new­able en­ergy to 32% by 2030

The Guardian - - FINANCIAL - Adam Vaughan

The EU is rais­ing its tar­get for the amount of en­ergy it con­sumes from re­new­able sources, in a deal lauded by the bloc’s cli­mate chief as a hard-won vic­tory for the switch to clean en­ergy.

En­ergy min­is­ters have agreed a bind­ing re­new­able en­ergy tar­get of 32% by 2030, up from the pre­vi­ous goal of 27%, but fell short of the hopes of some coun­tries and green groups for a more am­bi­tious share.

The EU coun­cil deal caps 18 months of ne­go­ti­a­tions. It was wel­comed by the re­new­ables in­dus­try, and the trade body for Euro­pean en­ergy util­i­ties called it “a well-bal­anced com­pro­mise”.

Dur­ing the talks the UK called for a tar­get of 30%, be­low the 32% a newly pro-re­new­ables France wanted and the 35% that new gov­ern­ments in Spain and Italy had ar­gued for.

Miguel Arias Cañete, the EU cli­mate com­mis­sioner, said: “This new am­bi­tion will help us meet our Paris agree­ment goals and will trans­late into more jobs, lower en­ergy bills for con­sumers and less en­ergy im­ports.” He added that the bind­ing na­ture of the goal would pro­vide cer­tainty to in­vestors.

The agree­ment also in­cludes plans for a 2023 re­view on whether the tar­get should be bumped even higher.

About 17% of EU en­ergy con­sump­tion in 2016 was from re­new­ables, with the UK on about 9%. Green en­ergy ad­vo­cates ar­gued the ex­ist­ing 2030 tar­get was un­am­bi­tious be­cause mem­ber states were al­ready on track to ex­ceed it.

En­vi­ron­men­tal groups said the in­crease did not go far enough and were crit­i­cal of a de­ci­sion to keep count­ing biomass as re­new­able en­ergy.

Molly Walsh, re­new­able en­ergy cam­paigner for Friends of the Earth Europe, said the tar­get was “in­ad­e­quate for a cli­mate-safe fos­sil-free fu­ture, and shows a fail­ure to grasp a shift­ing en­ergy land­scape, in­clud­ing rapidly fall­ing re­new­ables costs”.

How­ever, the group wel­comed the deal’s recog­ni­tion of con­sumers’ rights to pro­duce their own re­new­able en­ergy, such as from so­lar pan­els.

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