Power Proposal

Renewables Headwind for E.U. Energy Plan

  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Relying on markets over mandates, the proposals align with Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s vision for a pan-European “energy union” as well as the European Union’s commitments to the Paris accord.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • The proposals call for boosting the bloc’s renewable energy target to at least 27 percent of the total E.U. energy mix by 2030, while achieving 30 percent energy savings by the same time.
    • The German government is concerned that national power grid operators may have to give up too much control to regional operators.
    • Climate advocates have criticized the legislation as extending a lifeline to fossil fuel power plants – a claim Commissioner Arias Cañeta rejected.
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    Audio

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Energiekonzern Eon
The proposals align with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s vision for a pan-European “energy union” and the E.U.’s commitments to the Paris climate agreement. Photo: dpa

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.

 

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