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Power companies oppose 2030 EU-wide renewable target

02 Jul 2013 18:23:25 | edcm

Opposition to a 2030 EU-wide renewable energy consumption target is gaining momentum, with European power companies saying that it should "at most" be non-binding and agreed only after assessing possible trade-offs with a 40% emissions reduction target.

Currently, the EU has three 2020 targets - cutting 20% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, raising renewable sources' share of energy consumption to 20% and saving 20% of projected energy consumption.

A consultation launched by the European Commission for 2030 energy and climate policy framework - closing on Tuesday - asked for comments on a series of issues, including how many targets need to be set for 2030 (see EDCM 27 March 2013).

A 2030 target for renewables, the Commission said, would have to be "carefully considered" because it might have potential negative knock-on effects. This can happen when greater-than-expected renewable generation or energy savings weaken demand for EU allowances (EUAs), which in turn can weaken the incentive for investing in low-carbon technologies.

In its response to the consultation, European power lobby Eurelectric said a stronger EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) should be the main instrument for driving investment in low-carbon technologies; while adding further European targets would risk "a continued reliance on multiple instruments, with an adverse impact on costs".

"Targets for renewables and energy efficiency should at most be indicative and should only be decided after thorough analysis of their impact on the headline emissions reduction target," the group said in the document, adding that the 20/20/20 package has resulted in a "regulatory jungle of multiple and overlapping targets and instruments".

Industrials

A warning against possible "conflicting incentives" from the cumulative effects of the EU ETS, a renewable target and an energy efficiency target also came from Eurometaux, an industry group representing non-ferrous metals sectors.

"Inconsistencies between climate and energy policies must be solved as they adversely affect industrial competitiveness by way of further increasing energy costs," the lobby said in its response to the consultation.

Cement lobby Cembureau's contribution to the consultation said: "The triptych target has resulted in conflicting and overlapping policies that have confused the end goal and instituted inefficiencies in the political system."

But both industrial lobbies fell short of suggesting a possible 2030 emissions reduction target and emphasised instead that energy and climate policies should not harm a target of 20% industrial GDP growth by 2020.

Opposition to a separate renewables target has so far also been expressed by the International Emission Trading Association (see EDCM 28 March 2013) and the UK, which recently labelled an EU-wide 2030 renewable target as "inflexible and unnecessary" (see EDCM 18 June 2013).

The country is in favour of a target of 50% emissions reductions compared to 1990 levels, in the context of a global climate deal by 2030, and 40% in case a global deal is not agreed. Silvia Molteni

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