None of the European Commission's options for promoting renewable energy beyond 2020 contain the 30% target it advocated last year.
A policy paper on renewables, issued by the commission on 6 June, says both power markets and renewable energy subsidy schemes should be integrated better across Europe.
However, an accompanying impact assessment discusses options for renewables beyond 2020. The EU's current target is for 20% of Europe’s energy to come from renewables by 2020; member states have their own targets to contribute towards this.
Six months ago, another commission document suggested a target should be set to source 30% of Europe’s energy from renewables by 2030 (ENDS Report, January 2012). But none of the new proposals contain this goal.
The impact assessment suggests four options:
According to the commission, the latter three options would be cheaper than business as usual.
But an EU-wide renewables target would be more expensive than member state targets. This is because the cost of certificates would likely be set at the cost of the most expensive renewable – offshore wind.
An earlier version of the paper, leaked on 1 June, said the commission would put forward a legislative proposal on a post-2020 regime in 2014. The date has been removed from the final version, although energy commissioner Günther Oettinger told a press conference he was still committed to the idea.
As well as the UK, Poland and the Czech Republic are opposed to member state renewable targets.
But the idea has strong support from other quarters and much industry. EU renewable energy association EREC said the commission’s paper should have been more daring, rather than just outlining four options. It wants a 45% renewables target for 2030.
A group of pro-renewables energy companies, including Dong Energy and Scottish and Southern Energy, welcomed Oettinger's intention to put forward a proposal in 2014. The group also wants a binding 2030 renewables target and says emissions trading will not be a sufficient incentive for investment.
Please note this article has been republished with the kind permission of the ENDS Report.