EU – 2030 targets for renewable energy by 2014

It has been hotly debated for months, and last week – finally – the European Commission published its 2050 energy roadmap outlining several different scenarios for Europe’s energy future over the coming decades.

For wind energy and other renewables the week was tense. Until now, the European renewables industry has been driven forward by renewable energy and carbon cutting 2020 targets. Investors in the sector need political commitments to renewable energy that extend to 2030 to help them make the right investment choices now.

And so the industry waited with baited breath to see if the Commission’s document would back renewable energy by including a 2030 target. We breathed a sigh of relief when Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner for energy, at the press conference launching the roadmap on 15 December, said: “There should be an interesting discussion on binding targets for renewables by 2030. This should begin now and lead to a decision in two years’ time.”

EWEA’s CEO Christian Kjaer immediately welcomed the announcement, but added that the document “could have been clearer” in its commitment to binding renewable energy targets for 2030. “The European Parliament and Council must now give the Commission a clear mandate to come forward with ambitious binding 2030 targets for renewable energy,” he said.

The news was widely picked up in the media. The Guardian reported Oettinger as saying that 2030 targets were needed “to enable business to plan ahead.”

The paper also picked up on the costs of renewable energy: “[The roadmap] showed that opting for a very high renewables component to the energy mix would be no more expensive than opting for alternative scenarios that placed more emphasis on nuclear power of coal and gas with carbon capture and storage,” the Guardian said.

Reuters and other news outlets also reported on energy costs: “shifting to renewable energy will ultimately cost around the same as business as usual,” the agency said. “This road map shows that getting clean energy from renewables will cost taxpayers no more than getting dirty and dangerous energy from coal or nuclear power,” Greenpeace EU Energy Policy Director Frauke Thies said.

But in some media there was haste to cover the issue which led to some misreporting. The largest German news agency DPA seemed not to have read the document in detail and reported that citizens would pay a higher cost in electricity for a renewable energy revolution.

European Wind Energy Association immediately responded to this misinformation. Stéphane Bourgeois, head of regulatory affairs, said:” Misinformed articles are being published about the “high costs” of decarbonisation and renewables, as purportedly shown in the roadmap. But in fact, the roadmap shows that all the 2050 energy scenarios, including the high-use-of-renewables scenario and the business-as-usual scenario, would have the same “overall system costs”.”

His opinion was published by the EU Observer – read more here:

Zoë Casey,