The European Commission’s Energy Union proposal to establish post-2020 legislation for renewables is a clear signal to investors that Europe is open for business on zero-carbon energy, says the chief executive officer of the European Wind Energy Association.
The Vice President for Energy Union Maros Sefcovic plans to put forward a Renewable Energy Package as soon as next year to guarantee that the 2030 climate and energy targets are met cost-effectively.
Thomas Becker, CEO of EWEA, welcomed this initiative and said a new directive for beyond 2020 shows that renewables will have a central role to play in Europe’s future energy mix. He said: “These are positive signs coming out of the Commission. We’re seeing recommendations for a shift away from a fossil fuel-dominated economy to more sustainable, secure and decarbonised sources of energy.”
With the Energy Union in mind, EWEA is calling for the disorderly patchwork on energy policies in the 28 Member States to be addressed. This is currently sending a confusing message to those in financial circles and would-be investors.
Actions taken at national level should serve to complement the EU’s long-term climate and energy objectives by avoiding arbitrary and retroactive changes to domestic policies while also ensuring that the binding targets for 2020 are achieved.
Becker added: “Ultimately, an Energy Union will be achievable through the strict enforcement of the 2030 climate and energy package on Member States to ensure that both the 40% target for greenhouse gas reduction and the 27% target for renewables are met. This will require a robust and transparent governance system eventually enshrined in legislation”
The Commission’s paper also states that the development of new infrastructure, especially interconnections, needs to lower the cost of integrating renewable electricity into the internal energy market.
Wind energy can already meet 10.2% of the EU’s electricity consumption but for Europe to become the world number one in renewables, existing grid infrastructure is in desperate need of an upgrade.
Becker said: “Increased interconnection between Member States and investment in the continent’s ageing electricity grids are of paramount importance. Above all the Energy Union must include cross-border cooperation to bind national grids together with more efficient technology that will allow nations to tap indigenous resources in remote areas and transfer power to Europe’s densely populated cities.”
“Wind power deployment is well-placed to be the backbone of the EU’s energy security strategy whilst significantly reducing the region’s import bill,” he said.