Environmental Protection

This Gamesa photo was taken at its wind turbine blade manufacturing plant in Cuenca, Spain. (Gamesa Corporación Tecnológica photo)

Companies Call for Ambitious 2030 EU Renewables Target

Eight European leaders in producing energy and renewable energy technologies announced recently they want a legally binding target of more than 30 percent of the EU energy mix to be renewables.

Gamesa, Acciona Energía, Alstom, Dong Energy, EnBW, ERG, Res, and Vestas, European leaders in producing energy, renewable energy, and some of the equipment used to produce it, issued a statement calling for a 2030 EU climate and energy framework that includes a legally binding target of more than 30 percent of the energy mix to be renewables. The statement noted that the eight represent 176,000 jobs, more than €250 billion in annual revenue, and provide European cleaner-generation technologies, equipment, and energy to more than 70 countries.

EnBW (Energie Baden-Württemberg AG), for example, has announced it plans to boost its share of renewable energy to almost 40 percent by 2020. Gamesa and Vestas are major producers of wind turbines, and Alstom is a major supplier of equipment and control technologies for hydro power, wind power, solar, and ocean energy.

"Europe must remain on the path it has chosen. 2030 is already at our doorstep," the companies' statement said. "The energy sector has long investment cycles, and investment decisions in the EU's liberalised energy markets need as much policy certainty as possible. A stand-alone, stable and predictable 2030 framework with an ambitious binding renewables target alongside an ambitious binding greenhouse gas reduction target and a robust CO2 price is key to minimising costs. Mutually reinforcing and coordinated targets will significantly minimise uncertainty, lower investment risk, reduce the costs of capital and hence the level of additional financial support needed. This framework will help Europe's competitiveness by driving innovation and technological leadership, and job creation. It will bring down our energy and electricity bills, and help remove the need for renewable energy support in future. It will help ensure a reliable, low-cost supply of clean energy for Europe's citizens and industry."

The statement noted the EU is heavily reliant on imported coal, oil, and gas; its 2011 net import bill for fossil fuels amounted to €388 billion, more than 3 percent of GDP; and by 2023, up to 110 GW of plant capacity is due for retirement. A binding renewable energy target will reduce exposure to volatile fossil fuel prices and will bring down the cost of renewable energy technologies, it said.

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