EU raises emissions reduction ambition following renewables progress

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email
The target was announced by European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen. Image: European Union.

The European Union (EU) has raised its 2030 emissions reduction target by 15 percentage points after solid levels of renewable energy deployment mean the bloc is on track surpass its previous goal.

A new plan has been put forward to reduce emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels, an ambition the EU says will put it on course to reach climate neutrality by 2050.

The new target, up from the 40% goal agreed in 2014, aims to help Europe's economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic as well as promote innovation in clean technology. Member States will be able to draw on a €750 billion (US$ 887.48 billion) recovery fund and the EU's next long-term budget to make investments in the green transition and bolster renewable energy output. Some 37% of that recovery fund will be invested in European Green Deal objectives.

“We are doing everything in our power to keep the promise that we made to Europeans: make Europe the first climate-neutral continent in the world by 2050,” said European Commission (EC) president Ursula von der Leyen. “Europe will emerge stronger from the coronavirus pandemic by investing in a resource-efficient circular economy, promoting innovation in clean technology and creating green jobs.”

An assessment carried out by the EU on member states’ climate plans has also revealed they are accelerating their energy transition. It indicates that the share of renewable energy in the EU could reach 33.7% by 2030, going beyond the current target of at least 32%.

According to Aurélie Beauvais, policy director at trade body SolarPower Europe, the pledge to the European Green Deal will require a “massive increase” in solar deployment, particularly on buildings. “Since currently more than 90% of roofs in the EU are unused, there is a golden opportunity to fill this space with solar,” she said. 

Financing mechanism to encourage state partnerships

The EU has also released details of a new mechanism that aims to make it easier for member states to work together to finance and deploy renewable energy projects – either as a host or as a contributing country. Managed by the EC, the scheme will bring together investors and project developers through regular public tenders.

The programme enables ‘contributing’ member states to invest in green energy projects in another country, allowing them to support projects that are more cost-efficient than deploying the same technology domestically – for example, solar energy for countries with fewer hours of sun.

Renewable energy generated will count towards the targets for both the host and the contributing states, with the split based on the share of investment. The mechanism gives an opportunity for countries that are struggling to meet their climate targets to catch up.

European commissioner for energy Kadri Simson said the mechanism provides an additional tool to facilitate investment in clean energy projects: “It can help stimulate Europe’s economies by getting large-scale projects off the ground and by supporting local SMEs and creating jobs.”

Read Next

PV Tech Premium
September 15, 2021
Record-breaking power prices across Europe have turned the spotlight on the role fossil fuel plants play in generating electricity and how the transition to renewables-plus-storage could lower consumer bills.
September 6, 2021
India-based renewables developer Adani Green Energy has raised US$750 million through a green bond offer, securing the debt and equity needed to reach a 25GW renewables target.
September 2, 2021
The European Commission (EC) has given the green light to a French aid scheme that is expected to support the development of 3.7GW of rooftop solar.
August 31, 2021
Accelerating deployment of utility-scale solar and wind means much of Australia could have sufficient renewables generation to meet 100% of consumer demand at certain times of the day by 2025, the Australian Energy Market Operator has said.
PV Tech Premium
August 10, 2021
Liam Stoker reflects on the IPCC’s ‘Code Red’ warning over climate change, what it means for the world’s renewables sector and, crucially, why it is time for policymakers to match rhetoric with action.
August 9, 2021
A landmark new climate report from the UN “must sound a death knell” for coal and fossil fuels, according to secretary-general António Guterres, who is calling for a rapid increase in solar capacity and renewable energy investment.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
October 6, 2021
Solar Media Events, Upcoming Webinars
October 6, 2021
Solar Media Events
October 19, 2021
BRISTOL, UK
Solar Media Events
December 1, 2021