30 November 2017

The European Union sets ambitious renewable energy and efficiency targets

The European Union has voted to increase its binding targets on both energy efficiency and renewable energy, sending a signal to member states to scale-up clean energy policies.

The Industry and Energy Committee Members of the European Parliament (MEP) voted on Tuesday to reduce the Union’s energy consumption by 40 percent and to increase the share of renewable energy sources by 35 percent by 2030.

MEPs pursued more ambitious targets than what the European Commission had proposed; prior to the vote the Commission had advised for a 30 percent energy consumption reduction target.

For the energy efficiency targets to be achieved, member states will need to cover all stages of the energy chain, including measures in generation, transmission, distribution, and final consumption.

On a different vote that took place on the same day, MEPs voted for renewable energy sources to account for at least 35 percent of the Union’s energy mix.

In addition, at least 12 percent of the energy consumed from the transport sector from each member state will have to come from renewables.

As a result, governments will need to set up attractive support schemes that are stable, predictable and without frequent or retroactive changes.

Most importantly, the European Parliament made sure to favour renewable self-producers and self-consumers; a measure expected to boost the deployment of Behind-the Meter (BTM) energy storage applications.

Consumers will be allowed to take advantage of battery storage solutions without having to pay any charges, fees or taxes.

MEPs called for national governments to assess any existing market barriers in order to trigger further development of the sector.

The new targets also favour community energy projects as it asks national governments to remove any “unjustified conditions or procedures” for households wanting to join renewable energy communities.

Wendel  Trio, Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe said: “The results of today’s votes will send a strong signal on the need to scale up clean energy to EU governments”.

He said: “The economic case of ever cheaper green energy should prompt the EU to move even faster and adopt a 45% renewable energy target”.

James Watson, CEO of SolarPower Europe commented: “The European Parliament has shown ambition by adopting an EU binding renewable target of at least 35 percent by 2030, sending a clear signal that Europeans expect investments in renewables to increase in the next decade compared to the current one”.

“We now call on the Council to endorse these ambitions and make sure that Europe leads on renewables”, he added.

The two legislative resolutions will need to be voted by the full Parliament in January, in order to give a mandate to MEPs to start negotiations with member states. 

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