Europe needs a strong 2030 renewable energy target

The European Union could achieve 100% renewable energy by 2050 “at the latest” if ambitious renewable energy targets for 203o are agreed, WWF has said in a new report.

By 2030 the EU could be generating more than 40% of its energy from renewable sources, said the report, Re-energising Europe: Putting the EU on Track for 100% Renewable Energy.

Based on research by Ecofys, the report provides policy makers dealing with the continued economic crisis a strong reminder that investing in wind power and other renewables while also agreeing to binding targets until 2030 makes good fiscal and environmental sense.

“Europe has significant untapped potential for cutting energy use and maximising indigenous power sources that could deliver cheaper and more secure energy,” said the report, which called renewable energy a beacon of hope.

“However, this potential is at risk because of a lack of political ambition. There is a particular need for greater clarity on policy frameworks for renewable energy and energy efficiency after 2020 – just one investment cycle away.”

The report “adds further weight to WWF’s calls for post-2020 EU legislation to deliver ambitious targets for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and emissions reductions in a package of coherent and complementary instruments.”

Five million jobs

Noting that almost 78% of Europeans agree that fighting climate change can boost the economy and create jobs, the report says meeting the EU’s climate change and energy targets by 2020 would generate up to five million jobs.

In an accompanying press release, Jason Anderson, Head of Climate & Energy at WWF European Policy Office, said strong post-2020 levels would help reduce climate change as well as creating jobs.

“Improving on Europe’s 2020 climate and energy targets by introducing an ambitious package of post-2020 measures is a win-win situation for everyone,” Anderson said.

In addition, he added that the “post-2020 climate and energy policies needed to deliver this vision would help the EU to reduce its €573bn external fossil fuel bill.”

“In recent years the EU has led the way on climate and energy matters, now that legacy has to be secured with a strong step forwards,” WWF said.

Last month EU Energy Commissioner Günter Oettinger promised a post-2020 policy would be published next year

By Chris Rose,