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EU drops 2030 member state renewables targets

EUROPE: The European Union has excluded a binding renewable energy target from new emissions-reduction proposals announced today.

A number of countries have lobbied against binding renewables targets
A number of countries have lobbied against binding renewables targets

(Update 6 February). In a snub to the new legislation, the European Parliament has voted for binding 2030 targets for renewables, greenhouse gas reductions and energy efficiency.

The wind industry had been pushing hard for the inclusion of country-specific renewables target for 2030, similar to the 2020 goals.

But while EU president José Manuel Barroso announced a proposed target for 27% renewables by 2030 for the whole of the EU, countries will only set targets "if they wish".

The EU is also aiming to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40%, based on 1990 levels, by 2030.

Barroso said that a binding renewables target was left out to allow more "bottom up" control and "greater flexibility" for member states. He added that compared with renewable energy development there are often "more cost effective ways" for member states to reduce emissions.

"We will not meddle in the individual energy mix in individual member states".

EU commissioner for energy Gunter Oettinger went on to say that renewable energy has sometimes been "too expensive" and countries must "Europeanise and optimise".

Barosso said that the development of the energy infrastructure, including the construction of cross-border interconnectors "may be more efficient" than renewable energy development in all countries.

European Wind Energy Association CEO Thomas Becker said: "The previously far-sighted and ambitious European Commission is a shadow of its former self, hiding behind the UK and other backward-looking member states and lobbies.

"By effectively advocating repatriation of energy policy to member states, President Barroso appears to have forgotten his previous calls for 'more European integration' on energy policy."

The proposals include a provision for a yearly review of progress towards the targets, with the ability to flag up failures to make progress towards the goals.

A number of countries, including the UK, France, Spain and Poland, have lobbied to water down the proposals in order to be able to meet emissions targets through cheaper means.

While the proposals are yet to become concrete, with the first discussion in the European Council in March, the member states are expected to approve the plans.

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