Targets for EU energy road map

In the lead up to the European Commission's Renewable Energy Roadmap -- expected around the turn of the year -- the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) is calling for binding targets for renewable energy. In its response to the Commission's consultation on its energy green paper, EWEA argues for an overall target of 20% from renewable energy by 2020, accompanied by targets for different sectors: 35% of electricity, 25% of heating and 12% for biofuels' share of transport fuel. EWEA states that targets would demonstrate the EU's lasting commitment to clean energy supply and boost investor confidence. The sector targets are needed to account for the different nature of various renewable energy technologies. It makes no sense providing a headline figure of 20% without providing the main energy using sectors of electricity, heat and transport, with their own individual targets, it says.

The EU is currently working towards a target set in the 2001 Renewable Energy Directive of 12% of energy from renewables by 2010, including 22% of electricity. To reach the targets, the directive set each country a non-binding national target for renewables, but with the proviso that if the Commission felt it necessary, it could take action against countries that fell short of their goals. "The Commission needs to decide what it will propose for the period after 2010," says EWEA's Christian Kjaer.

EWEA would like to see the national targets for 2010 be made mandatory and the Commission setting mandatory national targets for 2020. In its submission, the association highlights the need for competition in energy markets through, among other measures, increased interconnection and full unbundling of transmission and generation. It also supports the Commission's proposals for a Europe-wide energy regulator to look at cross-border issues and a single European grid which could accommodate offshore wind power.

Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs indicated in October that he was thinking along the same lines as EWEA. Referring to the Renewable Energy Road Map, he said: "I believe in a target-based approach and I believe it should be ambitious and should include sectoral targets."

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