EU 2030 energy and climate targets: The right regulatory framework will lead us way beyond 27% for renewables!
Brussels, October 24th, 2014. The European Council has set a binding 40% GHG emissions reduction target, a minimum 27% for renewables - only binding at EU-level- and an indicative 27% for energy efficiency. These targets fall short of the needs of Europeans. More can be achieved with renewables for heating and cooling, and consistent actions on energy security, affordability and climate protection.
Crushed between budget constraints, slow economic recovery, and heavy lobbying from conventional industries, Member States were not in the condition to make more ambitious long-term commitments. However, they truly failed to make a clear link between the heat security crisis, competitiveness and affordability concerns, and climate strategies.
AEBIOM, EGEC, and ESTIF, representing the biomass, geothermal, and solar thermal sectors respectively, regret the very low level of ambition. Yet, the industry is confident in the continuity of renewable energy development. It is ready to work with the EU institutions to ensure that the resulting policy framework enables the proper growth of renewable heating and cooling, in line with the high potential of this sector.
In line with Article 194 of the EU Treaty, the Commission is now responsible for proposing the appropriate governance and measures so as to guarantee that renewable energy technologies are able to continue their development. There are high expectations in this sense, especially if we want the EU to become the world number one in renewable energies, as announced by incoming Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in the list of his five main priorities.
Therefore, the renewable heat industry strongly encourages the Commission to put in place a governance system ensuring:
• Accountability of Member States regarding their pledges for 2030;
• Binding measures on renewable energy, energy efficiency, and smart infrastructure, the three no regrets options of the EU energy and climate policy;
• The full inclusion of heating and cooling into the EU energy and climate policy and more consistency between climate, security of supply, and affordability strategies.
• Precise indicators to monitor the development of renewables for heating and cooling such as the switch rate from fossil fuels to renewables in the heat sector, and the building renovation rate.
Background: status of renewable heating under current legislation
According to the Commission Impact Assesssment, the 40% reduction target for GHG emissions and a 27% target for renewable energy would result in an increase in renewable heating and cooling (RHC) of just 4 percentage points, from 21% in 2020 to some 25% in 2030. Considering the energy efficiency gains and the resulting decreasing energy demand in the coming years, in absolute terms the current 27% minimum target is merely the equivalent of ‘business-as-usual’ and needs to be reconsidered urgently. RHC will amount to 111 Mtoe in 2020 according to Member State projections; however, the European RHC industry estimates that with strong enabling policies it could be possible to generate 148 Mtoe by 2020 and up to 300 Mtoe by 2030, ensuring security of heat supply at competitive prices.
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