The European Parliament’s influential Industry Committee (ITRE) has voted to call on the European Commission to “analyse and if appropriate to increase the legally binding renewable energy target beyond.” This is the latest signal that European Union policy makers are seriously considering extending renewable energy targets beyond 2020.
Recently Commissioner Connie Hedegaard told The Guardian newspaper that the EU “should be discussing a renewable energy target for 2030. We need to have ambitious targets. It would be one way to send a long-term price signal for renewable energy – that renewable energy is not just going to stop growing after 2020.”
“There is growing momentum for the European Commission to propose binding renewable energy targets for 2030,” explains EWEA’s senior advisor on Climate and Environment Remi Gruet. “For the last fifteen years the European Union has had a very successful renewable energy policy based on ambitious targets. If you have a successful policy it doesn’t make sense to abandon it after 2020. It’s important that the EU adopts a renewable energy target for 2030 and does so within the lifetime of this Commission and Parliament. Uncertainty about the policy framework after 2020 will do nothing to encourage investment.”
The ITRE committee’s move comes as part of its vote on the report by MEP Bas Eickhout (Greens) on the Roadmap to a Low Carbon Economy which also dealt with the debate about whether the EU should move to an emissions reduction target for 2020 of higher than 20%.
The report also calls on the Commission to assess the effects of domestic emissions reduction policies on the EU economy, provide proper financing to the SET-Plan and orient research and funding towards energy and climate issues.
Remi Gruet continues: “Next to the call for renewable energy targets post-2020, we welcome the priority given to funding for research. But we regret that the report falls short of recommending a move to 30% greenhouse gas reductions. The report portrays the ETS as a burden on the economy, whereas it currently offers a subsidy for sectors like steel or cement that can make a profit by selling their emissions allowances which were handed out far too generously.”
The Eickhout report is due to be voted on in the Environment Committee on 24 May and in plenary on 22-23 June.