Sitting in his office in Brussels, E.U. Commissioner for climate action and energy Miguel Arias Cañeta is so visibly energized his legs are in perpetual motion under his glass desk.
The reason: Today, Mr. Arias Cañeta will present a 1,000-page plan to decarbonize and create a coherent single European energy market from a patchwork of 28 national industries.
Mr. Cañeta has good reason to be nervous. A key part of his proposal would expand the renewable energy sector but treat its members just like conventional utilities that burn coal or split atoms. Eliminating subsidies for alternative energy makers faces an uphill battle in countries like Germany.
“The package is quite simple and follows three main principles: energy efficiency throughout the sector, making the European Union the number one leader in renewables in the world, and ensuring a fair deal for consumers in energy production and consumption,” the commissioner said in an interview with Handelsblatt.
His proposal calls for boosting the 28-nation bloc’s renewable energy target to at least 27 percent of the total E.U. energy mix by 2030 – compared to a 2020 goal of 20 percent – while achieving 30-percent energy savings by the same time.