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EU considers jumping to a 45% renewable energy target by 2030

Wind farm in Poland.
Wind farm in Poland.   -   Copyright  AP Photo   -  
By Reuters

The European Commission is assessing whether the European Union could achieve a higher target of a 45 per cent share in renewable energy by 2030.

This would be instead of the currently proposed 40 per cent, which is aimed at accelerating the bloc's shift from Russian fossil fuels following the invasion of Ukraine.

"We are working on it full speed to take account, first of all the proposal of going from 40 to 45 per cent, but also in the context of higher energy prices," Mechthild Woersdoerfer, deputy director-general of the Commission's energy department, told a meeting of EU lawmakers on Wednesday.

Russia is the EU's top gas supplier, and the 40 per cent renewable energy goal for 2030 was proposed by the Commission last year.

The renewable share varies widely between EU countries, ranging from more than 50% in Sweden to below 10% in Luxembourg.

The EU got 22 per cent of its gross final energy consumption from renewables like wind, solar and biomass in 2020. The share varies widely between EU countries, ranging from more than 50 per cent in Sweden to below 10 per cent in Luxembourg.

Adam Schreck/AP
European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.Adam Schreck/AP

The new renewable target is part of a wider climate plan

The new target will depend on EU countries and the European Parliament, which are negotiating it as part of a major package of climate change laws to cut EU emissions faster.

A 45 per cent renewable goal already has support from the EU assembly's lead negotiator and renewable industry groups such as SolarPower Europe - although industry has urged Brussels to do more to unblock years-long permitting delays.

Brussels estimates tripling the EU wind and solar capacity by 2030 could save 170 bcm of gas demand a year.

Markus Pieper, Parliament's lead lawmaker, said the new analysis was needed urgently so it could inform the ongoing negotiations, and urged the Commission not to wait until after the summer.

"Otherwise we'll be starting again from the beginning," he said.

Brussels estimates tripling the EU wind and solar capacity by 2030, adding 480GW of wind and 420GW of solar energy, could save 170 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas demand a year.

The Commission will publish a plan in May to quit Russian fossil fuels by 2027. Woersdoerfer said this would include a legal proposal to make it easier for renewable energy projects to get permits.