The EU announces an increase in renewable energy targets

The EU’s current target for renewable energy is 27% by the year 2030. But, in a hard-won victory in the push towards clean energy, energy ministers have now agreed a new target of 32%. During the talks, there were mixed calls from member states. The UK asked for targets to be lower at 30%; France, Spain and Italy argued that the targets should be higher, and suggested that 35% would be more appropriate.

Environmental groups have also called for targets to be more ambitious. Advocates for green energy that the existing targets were already far too low. Many member states were already on track to exceed the targets. Therefore, they say that the increases, whilst a positive move, don’t go far enough. Some are also critical of the EU’s decision to keep including biomass as a form of renewable energy.

Molly Walsh, renewable energy campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe, said: “EU decision-makers have agreed a paltry 32% target for renewable energy that is inadequate for a climate-safe fossil-free future, and shows a failure to grasp a shifting energy landscape, including rapidly falling renewables costs.” However, the group added that some aspects of the agreement, including consumers rights to sell their own renewable energy from solar panels, are very positive steps.

Miguel Arias Cañete, EU climate commissioner, said: “This new ambition will help us meet our Paris agreement goals and will translate into more jobs, lower energy bills for consumers and less energy imports.” He added that, as this is a binding agreement, investors in the EU will be provided with some much needed certainty. However, it’s still unclear as to whether the targets will apply to the UK post-Brexit.

The new agreement has now been confirmed in principal. In the coming months, it will need to be approved by the EU parliament so that it can be formally approved, and later implemented across the bloc.

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