Progressive future for energy efficiency but disappointing outcome on renewables targets 

The failure to include binding national targets for use of renewable energy has been described as insufficient and unambitious by GUE/NGL as part of this morning’s committee vote on the EU’s ‘Clean Energy Package’.

Under the proposals for renewables, member states will be ‘allowed’ to miss the EU’s target of 35 per cent – but even that mark falls short of the 38-40 per cent required to curb global warming as set out by COP21 in 2015.

Furthermore, current trends indicate many EU member states will struggle to meet the original 2020 EU target for renewables due in parts to market barriers.

GUE/NGL shadow on Renewables, Paloma López, voted against the proposals in committee today and said:

“Setting a Union target of 35% is a welcome improvement on the Commission's unambitious 27% goal though it doesn’t differ greatly from current energy market trends. In particular, the absence of binding national targets is a serious setback from the previous regulation.”

“Private renewable consumers and energy communities, in particular public ones, should not be penalised for their contribution towards renewable energy production. Meanwhile, investors need certainty and transparency on the functioning of support schemes. The Parliament's position on Renewable Energy Directive II is thus a step in the right direction”.

“However, we believe that the definition of a 12% transport targets for renewables and biofuels will continue to foster unsustainable trends regarding land use. Overall, without a strong focus on efficiency and circular production, unintended outcomes may damage the coherence of the EU's energy and climate policy,” argued the Spanish MEP.

However, there was better news concerning energy efficiency as the same Committee on Industry, Research and Energy narrowly approved setting highly-ambitious, binding national targets of 40% for the 2021-2030 period.

GUE/NGL shadow on energy efficiency, Xabier Benito, applauded his colleagues for setting the bar high for future targets:

“We are happy that the progressive amendments on 40% for 2030 and binding national targets were adopted. It is good news for the citizens and the environment. An ambitious objective will create jobs, decrease the imports of natural gas and strengthen energy security. It is also an important way to fight energy poverty.”

“The negotiations have been difficult but together with other progressive groups, we put a lot of pressure on the S&D and overcame the conservative lobbies,” he concluded.

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