EU to set new target for renewables

Posted: 1 June 2004

Representatives of governments from around the world are gathering this week in Bonn for "Renewables 2004." Organized as a follow-up to the Johannesburg World Summit of 2002, the event is meant to boost the momentum of renewable energy growth. The Environment News Service reports.

Outcomes will include a political declaration, an international action programme and guidelines on policies to support renewables. Debate will continue to focus on demands for regional and global targets for boosting renewables.

The European Commission will propose new long-term EU renewable energy targets in 2007, it said on Wednesday in a hotly disputed communication. Earlier drafts of the communication made no commitment at all to setting new targets.

Nevertheless, environmental groups poured scorn on Energy Commissioner Loyola de Palacio over the absence of immediate new targets, one calling her "unfit for the job."

Impact analysis

In a second significant shift, the published communication emphasizes obstacles to renewable energy growth as the reason for not proposing 2020 targets immediately. Previously it blamed EU member states' failure to show they could reach existing 2010 targets.

Obstacles include "technical and practical limits" on renewables' cost-effective availability," it now says. A previously unmentioned staff working paper analyzing these "difficulties" is being released alongside the communication.

As a result of this analysis, the communication concludes, more thorough assessment is needed before deciding on EU targets beyond 2010. This will include an extended impact analysis, taking into account competitiveness, security of supply, technical feasibility and environmental aspects.

The assessment will be issued before November 2005 "in order to set in 2007 a target for the period after 2010."

The bulk of the communication evaluates progress across countries and technologies towards existing 2010 targets of a 12 percent share of renewable energy in the EU-15 countries and a 21 percent share of renewable electricity across the enlarged EU-25. As became clear last month, the Commission believes both will be missed.

In the run-up to Bonn, the German environment minister welcomed the Commission's pledge on setting new EU targets as a "pleasing and strong signal." Juergen Trittin noted the European Parliament's call for a European target of 20 percent renewable energy by 2020.

Europe's renewable energy industry is continuing to push for even more ambitious targets. On Thursday, the European Renewable Energy Council released scenarios showing that renewables could provide 50 percent of global energy supply by 2040.

This is a shortened version of an article from the Environment News Service (ENS) published in cooperation with ENDS Environment Daily, Europe's choice for environmental news. Environmental Data Services. (Copyright ENS. All Rights Reserved.)