In January 2018, the EU finally raised the targets for renewable energy from 27% to 35% by 2030, signalling a positive move towards a renewable energy future and encouraging employment growth within the renewable sector.
Ever since the Paris agreement was signed in 2015, the renewable energy industry had been underwhelmed by the targets set by the EU for renewable energy adoption. As a result, a lot of discussion at conferences and within the industry has centred around increasing the targets to unlock the growth of renewables and meet the obligations of the Paris agreement.
Following years of lobbying, the policy is the result of a declaration that was co-signed by industry leaders in November 2017, urging European Union ministers to increase the target to 35%. The consensus amongst industry stakeholders was that the 27% target in place at the time was under-ambitious and curtailed the rate of progress in renewable adoption.
The new 35% target brings Europe closer to the renewable energy capacity we need to meet the less-than-2% emission goals set out in Paris. The decision brings clarity beyond the mid-2020’s and enables the industry to better forecast and invest in building and deploying infrastructure, for the longer term.
Now that wind is now the cheapest form of new power generation, there’s an obvious economic benefit for consumers too.
The increase of 8 percentage points represents a real increase of a third over the existing targets based on current demand. The knock-on effect is that we’ll need an equivalent one-third increase in volume and capacity, increased investment in manufacture and deployment, and an increase in jobs.
The wind industry currently supports 263,000 jobs in Europe and contributes €36bn to EU GDP. The new 35% level equates to an additional 136,000 jobs in the wind sector alone.
Of course, total energy demand will expand over that time too, growing the whole energy pie, as well as the renewable slice.
According to our CEO Tom Hopkinson, the decision is cause for celebration.
“Congratulations to everybody who lead to this decision. It was a long time coming but the move is a very positive signal for the renewables industry. It’s great for the EU, and for the global effort to fulfil the mandate of the Paris Accord.”
It takes a focused effort between stakeholders to manage global warming and the new targets are a testament to the collaboration between policy-makers, citizens and industry leaders who made this happen.