EU set to slightly surpass 2030 renewable energy goal

Kadri Simson, EU commissioner for energy, at the press conference following the video conference of EU energy ministers, 15 June 2020, Brussels. [European Council]

The European Union looks set to slightly beat its goal to get a third of its energy from renewable sources by 2030, but public support will be needed to offset a drop in clean power investment due to COVID-19, the bloc’s top energy official said.

EU countries’ latest energy policy plans would see the bloc reach a 33% share of renewable energy by 2030, surpassing its target by one percentage point, EU energy chief Kadri Simson told an online news conference on Monday (15 June).

Renewable sources including wind, solar, hydropower and bioenergy made up just under 19% of final EU energy consumption in 2018.

Previous versions of countries’ energy policy plans had suggested the bloc would miss its 2030 renewables target by up to three percentage points.

Three EU countries bump up renewable energy goal for 2030

France, Greece and Bulgaria have pledged to update their national targets for renewable energy and bump up the share of wind, solar and other renewables to 33%, 35% and 27% of their energy consumption respectively by 2030.

Simson said the Commission would push tens of billions of euros into clean energy projects from its proposed €750 billion EU coronavirus recovery fund, to ensure the economic crisis caused by the pandemic does not thwart its green goals.

“In the context of the crisis and the fall of renewable energy investments, we must make sure that progress in this area continues,” Simson said.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects global growth in new renewable energy capacity to slow for the first time in two decades this year, as the pandemic causes financing challenges and delays construction of projects.

It says renewable power additions should rebound next year to the level reached in 2019, but this will depend on continued support from governments.

Countries may have to revise their policy plans further as the Commission is considering setting tougher renewable energy targets next year, as it strives to reduce net EU greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050.

Energy firms rally behind green stimulus call

A coalition of 40 global businesses – including energy majors such as BP, Iberdrola, Orsted, and Shell – have called on governments to support “a massive wave of investments in renewable electricity” and other low-carbon energy solutions when devising recovery plans from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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