On the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED II), SolarPower Europe urged the European Commission to increase the EU’s overall renewable energy target, such that by 2030, at least 45% of final energy demand comes from renewables.
Increasing the EU’s renewable energy ambition is essential for meeting the climate and energy targets of the European Green Deal. Reaching a level of renewables of at least 45% would put the EU on a cost-effective trajectory towards achieving climate neutrality by 2050, and is consistent with the 1.5°C temperature limit of the Paris Agreement, SolarPower Europe said on February 10.
SolarPower Europe CEO Walburga Hemetsberger noted that the EU and its Member States must increase 2030 renewable energy ambitions in order to achieve Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen’s bold vision of global climate leadership. “Solar, as the lowest-cost, most versatile, scalable, and innovative renewable energy technology, is a key European driver of this energy revolution. This scale-up in ambition must go hand-in-hand with a European Solar Initiative to boost the deployment of solar across the EU,” Hemetsberger said.
A study from April 2020 from SolarPower Europe and LUT University, “100% Renewable Europe,” demonstrates that such an increase is not only feasible, but that solar could deliver the bulk of clean energy as it has become the most cost-competitive energy source in history. This is in line with statements from International Energy Agency (IEA) Executive Director Fatih Birol, who announced in September 2020 that solar growth would be exponential in the next five years, with solar becoming Europe’s largest installed capacity by 2025.
To remain on the trajectory of a decarbonised European energy system, SolarPower Europe estimates that total solar installed capacity should reach at least 700 GW by 2030; this is more than double the amount that Members States’ NECPs currently foresee. As the installed capacity currently amounts to 137 GW, reaching the 700 GW level will require the deployment of 563 GW in the next decade.
SolarPower Europe Deputy CEO and Policy Director Aurelie Beauvais said the Fit for 55 Package is a unique opportunity to significantly strengthen the solar sector’s position at the core of the European Green Deal. “A key enabler of this ambition will be renewable hydrogen, which can play a strategic role in decarbonising the entire energy system. The creation of additional jobs in the renewable industry resulting from further deployment of renewable hydrogen at the scale required to achieve this vision will support the EU’s industrial leadership in future-proof clean energy technologies,” she said.
Beauvais noted that to achieve this ambition, and while direct electrification remains the most cost-efficient solution to reduce emissions in the next decade, it is essential to carry out a robust assessment of the actual needs for renewable hydrogen in the short- and medium-term. “Avoiding lock-in effects must be a priority, for this reason we strongly call on the Commission to focus market-pull policies exclusively towards renewable hydrogen solutions,” she said.
The European Commission launched these consultations in advance of the publication of the “Fit for 55” package in June. This legislative package will include proposals aimed at increasing the EU’s 2030 climate ambition from the current 40% GHG emission reductions to at least 55%.