European Parliament’s Industry Committee votes for more renewables

28.11.2017
The Industry Committee of the European Parliament is backing a binding target of at least 35% renewable energy for 2030 (photo: European Parliament)
The Industry Committee of the European Parliament is backing a binding target of at least 35% renewable energy for 2030 (photo: European Parliament)

Today, members of the European Parliament voted on the Committee’s position on the post-2020 Renewable Energy Directive, steered by Spanish MEP José Blanco López. One year ago, the European Commission presented the Clean Energy for All Europeans legislative package, but it’s headline target of 27% renewable energy by 2030 fell short of its ambitions. The Industry Committee (ITRE) made important improvements to the original proposal of the European Commission. These improvements include: a binding target of at least 35% renewable energy for 2030; visibility to investors on public support for renewable energy deployment; a reinforced investment protection clause; and an improved framework for Guarantees of Origin and corporate renewable Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs).

While calling for higher ambition, the Industry Committee also strengthened the annual energy savings obligation. However, it failed to uphold national binding targets for renewable energy, which would help ensure that the overall EU renewable energy target is met.

Following the Industry Committee vote, it will then be the Council of the EU’s turn to define its position on the Commission’s proposals for a Renewables Directive and Governance Regulation at the Energy Council meeting on December 18. The European Parliament’s plenary will vote on its position early next year.

Applauded by the industry

The Committee’s vote was widely applauded by several renewable energy associations. At today’s opening of the WindEurope Conference in Amsterdam, WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson hailed the Industry Committee’s vote: “We commend MEP Blanco López and his colleagues for securing agreement on a 35% renewables target. It is not only affordable but also economically desirable. But ambition on the target only is not enough. Visibility on deployment volumes to 2030 also remains crucial to sustain wind energy’s contribution to the EU economy. In this light it’s very good the Committee adopted a five-year upfront schedule for public support to renewables. Knowing what the volume, timing and budget of renewable energy auctions is going to be helps the industry plan its investments in the supply chain. It secures economies of scale and brings down costs. We now expect the ITRE committee to back up this schedule with ambitious provisions on National Energy and Climate Plans as part of the Governance Regulation.”

James Watson, CEO of SolarPower Europe comments: “Through this vote MEPs send a clear signal, that Europeans expect investments in renewables to increase in the next decade compared to the current one. We now call on the Council to endorse these ambitions and make sure that Europe leads on renewables.”

"In view of the Paris agreement, we need a strong national obligation besides ambitious targets of at least 35 %, " said Dr. Dörte Fouquet, Director of the European Renewable Energies Federation (EREF).

For the EU to be world leader and remain a driving force on climate action, European and national policies must allow for a thorough penetration of renewable energy in all segments of the energy sector: electricity, heating & cooling and transport. "The 35% renewable energy target voted today calls for more ambition also at the decentralized level. Renewables in buildings must get a real boost in the next decade if this target is to be reached" said Pedro Dias, Secretary General, Solar Heat Europe.

“The efforts made by all political groups to find compromises on the most important issues are positive. The Rapporteur on the Renewable Directive has done an excellent work in reaching such a strong cross-party agreement. The Parliament must now defend this position and bring the Council to this sensible and much needed level of ambition”, concludes Philippe Dumas, Secretary General of the European Geothermal Energy Council (EGEC).

Appeal to move on faster

In reaction to the results of the vote, Wendel Trio, Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, said: “By calling for more ambitious renewable energy and energy efficiency targets, MEPs reaffirmed their commitment to the promises of the Paris Agreement. The results of today’s votes will send a strong signal on the need to scale up clean energy to EU governments. The economic case of ever cheaper green energy should prompt the EU to move even faster and adopt a 45% renewable energy target.”

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