SolarPower Europe has urged the European Commission to increase the EU’s target for final energy demand from renewables to 45% by 2030.

Increasing the renewable energy ambition is essential for meeting the climate and energy targets laid down by the European Green Deal, would put the EU on a cost-effective trajectory towards achieving climate neutrality by 2050, and is consistent with the 1.5° C temperature limit of the Paris Agreement, the industry group said.

“The EU and its member states must increase 2030 renewable energy ambitions in order to achieve Commission President Von der Leyen’s bold vision of global climate leadership,” SolarPower Europe chief executive Walburga Hemetsberger said.

“Solar, as the lowest-cost, most versatile, scalable, and innovative renewable energy technology, is a key European driver of this energy revolution.

“This scale-up in ambition must go hand-in-hand with a European Solar Initiative to boost the deployment of solar across the EU.”

The final energy consumption of the 27 EU members (without the UK) – including electricity, heating and transport – had reached 19.7% in 2019 and last year is expected to have surpassed the EU’s 20% target for 2020.

Solar at core of Green Deal

More than doubling the EU’s final energy demand from renewables is part of key recommendations to the European Commission on the revision of its Renewable Energy Directive (called ‘RED II’).

To reach the 45% target, SolarPower Europe estimates that the EU’s total installed solar power should reach at least 700GW by 2030, up from a current installed capacity of 137GW.

The Commission has launched consultations in advance of the publication in June of its so-called ‘Fit for 55’ package, which will include proposals aimed at increasing the EU’s 2030 greenhouse gas reduction target to at least 55% from 40% currently envisaged.

“The ‘Fit for 55 Package’ is a unique opportunity to significantly strengthen the solar sector’s position at the core of the European Green Deal,” said SolarPower Europe policy director Aurelie Bauvais.

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“A key enabler of this ambition will be renewable hydrogen, which can play a strategic role in decarbonising the entire energy system.”