Brussels, Belgium [RenewableEnergyWorld.com] Agreement has been reached on the European Union Renewable Energy Directive that could pave the way for the economic bloc to achieve its plans for a 20% renewables contribution to total energy demand and a 20% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, the so-called 20:20:20 plan. The deal, between the European Parliament, the French Presidency, on behalf of the Council, and the European Commission, means that more than one third of EU electricity must come from renewables by 2020.
A move welcomed by the renewable energy and environmental sector, European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) president Arthouros Zervos noted, “This European Directive will be the most important piece of legislation on renewable energy in the world,” adding that the legislation will provide for much-needed investor confidence in the renewable energy sector, and thereby enable the European Union to achieve in the most cost-efficient way the binding 20% renewable energy target.
Under the terms of the Directive, for the first time each Member State has a legally binding renewables target for 2020 and by June 2010 each state will have drawn up a National Action Plan (NAP) detailing plans to meet their 2020 targets. Member states will report on progress every two years.
“At a time when international climate negotiations are ongoing, the European Union gives a strong signal to other countries worldwide. I am confident that this piece of legislation will inspire other parts of the world to help us achieve a sustainable energy future,” Zervos said.
The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) further noted that the Directive confirms Europe as the leader of the energy revolution the world needs. “Moreover, the directive addresses existing barriers that prevent Europe from fully exploiting its largest domestic energy resource,” said a statement from EWEA.
Christian Kjaer, EWEA’s chief executive said, “The grid and administrative barriers whose shadows loom long over wind energy project developers will finally be tackled throughout Europe thanks to the directive.”
Ahead of the agreement, which had been in doubt following calls for a 2014 review from Italy and France, Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said that the climate change and energy package was one of the most significant pieces of work the EU had carried out over recent years. He added that a low carbon economy would boost Europe’s competitiveness and encourage innovation.