EU countries could face national renewable energy goals, official says

Source: By Kate Abnett, Reuters • Posted: Thursday, May 6, 2021

European Union policy makers are likely to propose national targets on expanding renewable energy to try to ensure the bloc achieves its goals on cutting emissions, a senior official said on Wednesday.

The European Commission is drafting a major package of climate change policies to be unveiled in July to cut greenhouse gas emissions faster across all sectors of the economy.

Diederik Samsom, head of the European Commission climate chief’s cabinet, said on Wednesday the package would likely set binding national targets for the 27 EU countries to increase the use of energy from sources including wind and solar.

“Will we go for national binding targets for renewable energy? Let’s say the odds are in favour of that,” he told an online event hosted by Politico.

The European Union’s current target is for a 32% share of renewable energy across the bloc by 2030, up from just under 20% in 2019.

That goal needs raising to put the EU on track for its new climate target, agreed last month, to cut economy-wide net emissions at least 55% by 2030, from 1990 levels.

Binding national targets would mark a return to the system that was in place until 2020.

They were dropped during negotiations to agree 2030 targets to overcome objections from some governments.

Across the bloc, the share of renewable energy varies widely.

Renewables provided more than 50% of Sweden’s gross final energy consumption in 2019, while the share was below 10% in the Luxembourg, Malta and the Netherlands.

National targets could address that imbalance and may be easier to agree now many countries are planning a huge expansion of renewable power.

Poland, which gets more than 70% of its electricity from burning coal, aims to have 10 to 16 GW of solar energy, 7 to 10 GW of onshore wind and 8 to 11 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind power by 2040. That is between 51% and 76% of Poland’s total installed power capacity now of 49 GW. read more