The move represents a marked split between those countries that want the new set of policies to have multiple targets – for emissions, renewables and efficiency – and those calling for only one goal solely focused on cutting emissions.
The UK, Poland and the Czech Republic are the most outspoken supporters of the latter option.
In a letter to the European Commission pushing for multiple targets, ministers from Germany, France, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Italy and Portugal stressed a clean energy target would help cut dependency on fossil fuel imports, and boost jobs and economic growth.
We must offer a robust, long-term framework supporting renewable energy sources, regardless of various views on the operational modalities. A target for renewable energy will strengthen European competitiveness and lead to more jobs and growth.
Documents revealed this week support their claims, showing a three-pronged approach could create around 568,000 more jobs across Europe by 2030, compared to an emissions goal alone.
New figures for wind power in Spain – where it is now the dominant source of energy and has likely cut emissions by over 23% – and in the UK – where December saw a new record for energy generated by wind – highlight how failing to provide this “crucial” signal for the clean energy industry would represent a missed opportunity for governments.
Ahead of the 2030 package White Paper – which will be discussed by the EU Council in March – industry groups are also calling for a strong renewable target.
Maf Smith, RenewableUK’s deputy chief executive said:
The EU needs to show leadership here and set a 2030 renewable energy target as a matter of priority. It would send a crucial political signal on the continuing direction of travel away from fossil fuels to clean energy sources across Europe. If the EU were to fail to step up to the mark on this, it would be more difficult for renewable energy developers to attract much needed investment in their projects, as it would push up the cost of raising capital.
Meanwhile, NGOs are calling for robust targets of 55% greenhouse gas emission reductions, 45% renewable energy share and 40% energy savings.
A strong 2030 package with ambitious targets could add much needed momentum to international climate negotiations for a global treaty due in 2015.