Come 2030, the Europe Union will have achieved a 32% target for wind power within the grouping. The new target, which has been raised from the 27%, is part of a newly reached “binding” agreement that compels EU nations to increase their share of wind energy accordingly in tandem with the continent’s aim to reduce its dependency on fossil fuels.
“This will allow Europe to keep its leadership role in the fight against climate change, in the clean energy transition and in meeting the goals set by the Paris Agreement,” the European Commission said in a press release.
Time to celebrate? Not just yet if you ask the deal’s critics. Although a senior EU official has called the new agreement “a hard-won victory in our efforts to unlock the true potential of Europe’s clean energy transition,” some prominent environmental campaigners deem the new target sorely wanting.
“EU decision-makers have agreed [to] a paltry 32% target for renewable energy that is inadequate for a climate-safe fossil-free future, and shows a failure to grasp a shifting energy landscape, including rapidly falling renewables costs,” stressed Molly Walsh, a renewable energy campaigner for the conservationist group Friends of the Earth Europe.
Imke Lübbeke, head of Climate and Energy at the WWF European Policy Office, has echoed that sentiment. “Going for a renewables target that is barely above business-as-usual is a spectacular failure by the EU,” she said. “It will undermine jobs, the economy and the climate in one fell swoop. Renewables will continue to gain market share because they make economic sense, but the EU has missed its chance to boost them further through a strong and binding target, and reap the benefits for its citizens and industry.
Be that as it may, the new target of 32% will give a welcome boost to the continent’s renewable energy industry. “This ambitious and achievable new strategy will drive significant additional investment activity, creating thousands of new skilled jobs and improving health and wellbeing whilst decarbonising the European energy system,” Adnan Z. Amin, director-general of the International Renewable Energy Agency, noted.
“We welcome the decision and believe it can act as a source of encouragement to global policymakers, and as a clear reminder of the centrality of renewable energy to both economic prosperity and climate stability,” he added.