Brussels, Belgium [RenewableEnergyAccess.com]
Energy policy and climate protection topped the agenda at the Spring European Council in Brussels last week where European Union (EU) heads of state and government officials committed to set a binding target for 20% of the EU's total energy supply to come from renewables by 2020.
"Europe now has a real opportunity to change its energy supply structure towards a much larger share of indigenous, renewable resources, reduced import dependence and less exposure to unpredictable fuel prices."
-- Christian Kjaer, CEO of EWEA
Currently only 6.5% of the EU's energy is sourced from renewables.
The EU, already a leader in renewable energy technology commanding 60% of the world's wind power market, also set a binding minimum target of 10% for the share of biofuels in overall transport petrol and diesel consumption by 2020. According to Angela Merkel, German Chancellor and president of the EU Council, the goals are ambitious and credible.
"Adopting an energy action plan will give the initial spark for a third technological revolution. We'll be going down completely new roads as far as technology and innovation are concerned," said Merkel, adding the targets steps will put the EU in a position to make it clear to the international community that Europe is playing a pioneering role.
In addition, the 27 Member States that make up the EU set a firm target of cutting 20% of the EU's greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 as part of the post-Kyoto arrangements. Furthermore, the heads of state said the EU will be willing to raise the goal up to 30% if other countries, including the U.S., China and India, made commitments in the same direction.
"European leaders have provided a powerful response to the looming climate and energy crisis, and the call from European citizens for more renewable energy. With today's decision, followed by effective implementation in the near future, Europe now has a real opportunity to change its energy supply structure towards a much larger share of indigenous, renewable resources, reduced import dependence and less exposure to unpredictable fuel prices," said Christian Kjaer, CEO of EWEA, after the Spring Summit ended on Friday.
A suitable legal framework now needs to be rapidly adopted in order to reach the 20% target, along with clear guidelines to market participants for the future direction of renewable electricity in Europe.