Higher 2030 Renewables Target Can Cut Gas Import by 26 Pct

Higher 2030 Renewables Target Can Cut Gas Import by 26 Pct

A 30% renewables target for 2030 would cut Europe’s reliance on gas imports by almost three times as much as the European Commission’s proposal for 27%, the Commission’s own figures show.

In a letter to EU foreign ministers, The European Wind Energy Association’s (EWEA) chief executive Thomas Becker said that a renewable energy target of “at least 30%” would allow Europe to significantly scale back its fossil fuel imports, including from Russia.

Whereas the Commission’s proposal would reduce gas imports by only 9%, a more ambitious, yet achievable target would cut the same imports by 26%, almost three times as much.

Europe’s wind industry also recognises the importance of a target that is binding at national level. This would spur green growth, create more jobs and attract investment while maintaining Europe’s position as a global leader in renewable energy. A 30% renewables target can foster 568,000 more jobs in Europe by 2030 than a 27% target.

EWEA’s appeal to foreign ministers comes at a particularly pertinent time as the ongoing crisis in Crimea raises concerns over the future of Europe’s energy security. European Heads of State are set to meet in Brussels this week to discuss the situation in Ukraine and the 2030 Climate and Energy Framework.

After a letter to Europe’s leaders last month, Becker said: “The situation in the Crimea is a wake-up call: Europeans rely on the most unstable and volatile parts of the world for energy security. For each new fossil fuel fired plant we build, we commit to buying the fuel abroad for years to come without security.”

“Each European is sending €2 net per day to sources outside of the EU,” he added: “Let us stop creating wealth for the already wealthy in Russia, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Instead let us invest in wind and renewables – European energy sources which do not have to be imported, which will not run out.”

Business leaders from over 150 companies and organisations have signed a statement calling for a stronger commitment from policymakers to Europe’s 2030 climate and energy objectives including a legally binding target for renewable energy.

Press release, March 18, 2014; Image: Statoil