Europe’s renewables sector hailed wide-ranging EU plans for an accelerated energy transition, with the continent’s main wind industry body saying turbine installations will need to double to meet new goals proposed and one of its largest developers declaring the targets “ambitious but achievable”.

The ‘Fit-for-55’ package of measures planned by Brussels to drive a 55% reduction in emissions by 2030 from 1990 levels includes a sharp increase to the bloc’s flagship renewable energy target to 40% from 32% previously.

WindEurope said: “This means the EU will need to install 30GW of new wind farms every year between now and 2030, a major acceleration in the expansion of wind energy. As it stands, we expect to build only 15GW a year over 2021-25.”

The industry body said 451GW of turbines will need to be in place by the end of the decade, up from 180GW now.

Along with the higher target, it also welcomed measures to improve the legal framework for corporate renewable energy deals, making it easier for companies to trace the provenance of green power and setting indicative targets for increasing renewable shares in the industrial energy mix.

Measures to require nations to jointly plan their offshore wind build-out in each sea basin and support multiple grid connections from projects are also proposed.

Clear message

WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson said: “The Fit-for-55 package sends a clear message to consumers and investors. The EU wants a major expansion in renewables by 2030, with nearly twice as much new wind as we’re currently building. And the EU wants to accelerate the electrification of those sectors that have so far relied on fossil fuels. This is good for the climate. And good for the economy.”

However, WindEurope said a major barrier to growth that the EU needs to tackle remains the complex rules around project permitting, which it wants Brussels to address with member states.

The package was also welcomed by solar body SolarPower Europe. “Today is a bright day for solar in Europe,” said CEO Walburga Hemetsberger, adding the 40% target would correspond to 660GW of capacity deployed by 2030.

Ignacio Galán, CEO of Spain-based global renewables giant Iberdrola, said: “The 'Fit for 55' package shows that Europe is tackling the climate crisis with urgency and optimism.

“Increasing the renewables target to 40% by 2030 is ambitious but achievable. Technology advancements and cost reductions in wind and solar and storage mean that renewables is the most competitive form of electricity generation today.

“The energy system can integrate renewables at this scale, as has been proven time and again in many countries in Europe already. It will be important for every country to look at their processes for planning and permitting to ensure projects can be delivered in the necessary timescales.”