- The European Commission has unveiled its Fit for 55 legislative package proposal, which provides a large tool box to enable reaching its 2030 targets on its way to carbon neutrality in 2050
- It wants the bloc to lower its net GHG emissions by at least 55% by 2030, from 1990 levels
- The EC proposed for the EU to adopt a 40% renewable energy target in the energy mix by 2030, the higher end of the envisage range, but lower than what Europe’s lobby association SolarPower Europe is asking for
- Renewable hydrogen gets a bigger role in the recommendations as the commission wants 40 GW of renewable hydrogen electrolyzers to be installed by 2030
- Now the European Parliament has to comment on the legislative proposal before a trialogue between EC, EP and the European Council will start
If member states of the European Union (EU) decide to adopt the European Commission’s proposal to aim for 40% renewable energy share in the energy mix by 2030, it would correspond to 660 GW solar power installed by 2030, according to the European solar PV lobby association SolarPower Europe (SPE). This would translated into 58 GW of annual solar power capacity additions.
This 40% target is already the high end of the 38-40% range the EC was envisaging earlier. It would be an increase from a 19% renewables share achieved in 2019, and will replace current target of 32% renewable energy share by 2030 target which SPE believes would have helped add 209 GW additional solar PV capacity in Europe (see 209 GW Solar PV Capacity In Europe By 2030).
However, SolarPower Europe has asked for a 45% share of renewables, which would translate into close to 900 GW of total installed solar capacities. “Our 100% Renewable Europe study with LUT University demonstrates the most cost-efficient pathway to climate neutrality is a 45% renewables target by 2030, which would put the continent on track to deliver on the 1.5° Paris Agreement scenario,” said SPE’s CEO Walburga Hemetsberger.
Dubbed as Fitfor55, the commission’s European Green Deal roadmap released on July 14, 2021, recommends the continent to move towards reducing its net GHG emissions by at least 55% by 2030, from 1990 levels, bringing them down to zero by 2050. It would involve making all climate, energy, land use, transport and taxation policies fit enough to achieve 55% goal.
Proposed as Renewable Energy Directive, the 40% renewable energy goal will have all member states contributing for increased renewable energy use in transport, heating and cooling, buildings and industry. It has proposed to expand the use of renewables in key sectors. Some of the measures recommended include having a new benchmark to reach at least 49% renewable share in the energy used in buildings, and annual binding increase of 1.1 percentage point renewables in heating and cooling at national level. The EC wants nations to have measures to facilitate renewable power purchase agreements (PPA) and accelerated permitting for renewable energy projects.
The EC targets for the EU to have 40 GW of renewable hydrogen electrolyzers to produce 10 million tons of renewable hydrogen here, by 2030. The directive extends the EU-wide certification system for renewable fuels to include hydrogen with a view to decarbonize industry and heavy-duty, long-distance transport with concrete targets. For the industry, it requires 50% renewable share in hydrogen consumption.
Through a new Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism which would put a carbon price on imports of a targeted selection of products, the association believes Europe can ensure its emission reductions do not contribute to a global emissions decline ‘instead of pushing carbon-intensive production outside Europe’.
“Reaching the Green Deal goals will not be possible without reshaping our energy system – this is where most of our emissions are generated. To achieve climate-neutrality by 2050, we need to turn the renewables evolution into a revolution and make sure no energy is wasted along the way,” said EU’s Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson.
One big hurdle to faster and more deployment of renewables in the EU is permitting. SPE’s Senior Policy Advisor Naomi Chevillard, said: “ The introduction of EU permitting guidelines are a necessary step to support this dialogue between the European Commission and Member States, we therefore applaud Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson’s confirmation that the European Energy Directorate will issue guidance on ‘Reconciling permitting with environmental and local communities interests’ as of 2022.”
Details of the Fit for 55 European Green Deal proposals made by the European Commission can be accessed on its website. These will now be part of internal negotiations between the European Council and the European Parliament before final directives can come into effect.
Believing it could be more ambitious, SPE’s Hemetsberger called the Fit for 55 package as a ‘watershed’ moment for the European solar sector. However, SPE’s Policy Advisor Miguel Herrero believes stronger action is needed with regard to industry, to remove disproportionate administrative barriers on mid-sized self-consumption solar systems, while bringing in concrete measures to accelerate the deployment of solar PV on buildings.
“It is very concerning that the Commission intends to remove the ability of Member States to exclude renewable energy generated on-site from energy consumption calculations from 2024 onward. This removes a crucial link between the renewable energy and efficiency frameworks, as renewable-based electrification could deliver up to 17% primary energy savings by 2030, according to our 100% Renewable Europe 2050 study,” pointed out Herrero.