EU Heads of State Show Support for Renewables
In a last minute addition to the European Council’s conclusions, Europe’s leaders stated the need for a “supportive EU framework for advancing renewable energies.”
Despite delaying on an agreement, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said in a press conference that the Council would have a deal on the climate and energy framework by “no later than” October 2014.
“This extra time could be a golden opportunity – for pro-renewables countries like Germany, Denmark and Portugal to rally round and start fighting for greater ambition for renewables and the energy security they bring,” said Thomas Becker, chief executive officer of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).
“The conclusions show that Heads of State are wising up to the energy challenges that Europe is facing. I think the situation in the Ukraine is proving a sobering experience for policymakers over the frailty of Europe’s energy security” he added. “We must act and we must do it now.”
The private sector is also throwing its weight behind the drive for more renewables: over 160 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.
A 30% renewables target would reduce gas imports by almost three times more than the 27% target put forward by the European Commission in January, create 568,000 more jobs, save EUR260 billion extra in fossil fuel imports.
It remains unlikely that a 2030 deal will be in place before a United Nations meeting convenes in September, when global leaders are expected to set out plans to curb Greenhouse gas emissions.
The European Council is set to meet again for talks on 26 and 27 June.
Press release, March 24, 2014; Image: European Council