Energy firms demand clear EU objectives for 2030

DuPont and Kingspan have joined a chorus of big businesses, energy firms and trade associations calling on EU heads of state to deliver a binding renewable energy target of at least 30% by 2030.

The two companies, along with the European Photovoltaic Industry (EPIA) and 13 other firms and bodies, have authored an open letter to national leaders ahead of the European Council meeting on 23-24 October.

The meeting will see heads of state debate the pillars of a long-term climate and energy package, with key decisions on the level of emissions cuts and whether there should be separate targets for renewables and energy efficiency.

“Our respective businesses and associations would like to highlight the importance of a meaningful renewable energy target, as a crucial part of this package,” reads the EPIA letter, which was also signed by Eneco and the European Wind Energy Association.

“Such a clear objective [30%], backed up by a supportive regulatory framework, would constitute an important signal. By providing the necessary certainty for businesses across the energy sector, it would reduce the cost of investments and foster innovation, thus efficiently driving the transition of Europe’s energy supply.”

Earlier this week, another coalition of big businesses including Tesco, Kingfisher and Shell urged the EU to lay out ‘clear and robust’ energy goals for 2030.

Energy generation

That letter was sent on the same day that the EU published its first full dataset on the cost of individual power generation technologies – the findings of which were praised by the EPIA.

The data revealed that the current costs for producing one MWh of electricity from solar installations are about €100-€115, compared to €75 for coal and €100 for nuclear and gas.

“The study proves that solar energy is cost effective today, and is improving competitiveness at a rate that conventional technologies will never be able to achieve,” said the EPIA.

“This is a wakeup call for policymakers to prioritise the most cost effective energies – such as solar. Policymakers need to stop protecting the past and begin to shape the future, which is clearly based on renewable energies on the evidence of the report.”

Solar future

The EU document also revealed that public intervention in solar for 2012 totalled €14.9bn, compared with €10bn for coal and €7bn for nuclear.

“Despite decades of heavy subsidies, mature coal and nuclear energy technologies still rely on similar levels of public support as innovative solar energy is getting today,” added EPIA policy director Frauke Thies.

“However, support to solar electricity is already coming down, in line with the rapid technology cost reduction, as opposed to coal and nuclear energy which remain locked into subsidies as they have been for the last 40 years. With its increasing cost-effectiveness, solar is set to overtake conventional technologies in the short-term”

Brad Allen

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