The EU may need to raise its 2030 renewable energy target to meet the objectives of its Green Deal and net-zero ambitions, said its energy commissioner, as Europe’s wind industry warned the bloc was on course to miss even its “modest” 2020 goals.
By the end of 2018 the EU reached an 18% share of renewables in gross final energy consumption, according to new official data, in what lobbying group WindEurope called a “stark warning” to Brussels officials who are now charged with delivering the hugely ambitious climate and energy programme promised under new European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.
Branding the 2018 data “very disappointing”, WindEurope said the 2% gap is a “clear sign that Europe is unlikely to make the 20% target for 2020”.
CEO Giles Dickson said: “If we can’t meet the modest 2020 targets, then something needs to drastically change to deliver the far more ambitious Green Deal targets.”
WindEurope wants Brussels to raise its game though measures such as increased focus on electrification in heating and transport, and a “clear industrial policy for wind energy”, pointing out that such as measure is a “no brainer”, given that wind is set to account for 50% of Europe’s power mix by 2050 under the EU’s own forecasts.
WindEurope’s comments on progress towards 2020 came as the EU’s newly-appointed energy commissioner Kadri Simson signaled that it would look at whether “we will need to revise the targets for energy efficiency and renewable energy” to meet the objectives of the €1trn ($1.11trn) Green Deal, designed to propel the bloc to carbon neutrality by 2050. The 2030 renewable energy share goal is currently set at 32%.
Addressing the European Parliament on Thursday, Simson said her department is currently awaiting remaining national energy and climate plans from member states on their own proposals for helping the EU meet its overall objectives, and will aim to make a decision on the level of ambition by mid-year.
Eurostat’s latest release on 2020 progress shows 12 nations already hit or exceeded their binding renewable share commitments under the EU’s overall goal – Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Croatia, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Cyprus, Finland and Sweden.
The bloc’s laggards furthest away from their national share goals are the Netherlands and France, which by the end of 2018 were 6.6 and 6.4 percentage points respectively away from their targets.