Wind turbine

Energy Commissioner calls for binding renewables targets

European Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger has called for 2030 renewable energy targets to be in place by 2014.

Oettinger made the comments as the European Commission launched its Energy Roadmap 2050, which outlines a high renewables energy mix having the same "overall energy system costs" as any other decarbonisation or business as usual scenario.

"With our roadmap we want to ensure that, for all participants, there should be an interesting discussion on binding targets for renewables by 2030," he said.

"This should begin now and lead to a decision in two years' time."

The Roadmap says that 97 per cent of the EU's electricity consumption, including 49 per cent wind power, must to be met by renewable energy in 2050.

It is based on five scenarios from the European Commission's PRIMES energy model, all achieving a 85 per cent decline in energy-related CO2 emissions by 2050 on the basis of different mixes of renewable energy, nuclear power and fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage (CCS) and energy efficiency.

"The Commission's Communication could have been clearer in its commitment to binding renewable energy targets for 2030,"  said Christian Kjaer, Chief Executive Officer of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) in Brussels.

"However, with his strong statement today, Energy Commissioner Oettinger has provided European industry and citizens with that clarity.

"The European Parliament and Council must now give the Commission a clear mandate to come forward with ambitious binding 2030 targets for renewable energy."

All five decarbonisation scenarios in the Roadmap, as well as the business as usual scenario, show that wind energy will produce more electricity than any other power generating technology by 2050: between 32 per cent and 49 per cent of EU power production in the decarbonisation scenarios.

"It's a pity the Commission fails to acknowledge this anywhere in its communication," Kjaer said.

"Much effort has gone into getting the PRIMES energy model to show renewable energy as more expensive than fossil fuels and nuclear energy.

"There are astounding assumptions in all scenarios such as oil prices dropping from over $100 per barrel today to $70 per barrel in 2050; offshore wind costing the same in 2050 as today; declining nuclear costs, and no gas or CCS infrastructure being needed in the next 40 years," Kjaer said.

"Despite these attempts to prefabricate the results, the scenarios confirm that a renewable energy future comes at no higher energy cost to Europe.

"A high renewables and efficiency scenario would have been the cheapest."

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