EU Member States must get behind higher renewables and energy efficiency targets

Wind turbines, Middelgrunden Wind Park, Copenhagen, Denmark © National Geographic Stock/Sarah Leen/WWFBrussels, Belgium - 18 April 2018

What's happening:
EU energy ministers are meeting informally in Sofia, Bulgaria on 19 April. On the agenda are the level of the 2030 renewable energy target, and the level and the nature (binding/indicative) of the energy efficiency target.  

Imke Lübbeke, Head of Climate and Energy at WWF European Policy Office commented:
"Higher 2030 targets are essential to start bringing the EU in line with the Paris Agreement. The EU leaders have called for a long-term climate strategy to meet the Paris objectives. If Member States now commit to higher 2030 targets for renewables and energy efficiency, it will prove they mean business on climate action in the shorter term as well as the longer term.

"The Council must support 35% targets for both energy efficiency and renewables, in line with the European Parliament, at the very least. If this happens, the EU will have taken a small but significant step towards upholding its Paris commitment to keep temperature rise to 1.5°C, and patching up its climate leadership."

More information:
The renewable energy and energy efficiency directives, and their 2030 targets, are about to be finalised in trilogue discussions between the EU Council and Parliament. The original target levels - 27% renewables and 30% efficiency - were agreed by EU Heads of State before the more ambitious Paris Agreement on climate change was signed.

While the European Parliament supports 35% targets for both - the EU Council has stuck to the original levels. This means the Council is not in line with the EU's Paris Agreement climate commitments.

However, some Member States, such as Sweden and France, are now supporting higher targets (see graphic below). What's more, last month EU Heads of State and Government called for a long-term EU climate strategy in line with the Paris Agreement, to be produced by early 2019.

The meeting in Sofia is a chance for Member States to build upon this growing support for upholding Paris and increasing climate action by boosting the backbone of such action: renewables and energy efficiency. The formal Energy Council on 11 June will be another opportunity to raise ambition.
More information:

The next trilogue meetings are scheduled as follows:
Energy Efficiency Directive: 16 May and 30 May
Renewable Energy Directive: 17 May and 29 May

Member States' positions (April 2018) - Energy efficiency target for 2030

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The picture maps Member States' positions on the 2030 energy efficiency target ahead of the Informal Energy Council in Sofia, according to WWF best understanding. The exact voting weight of each country can be found in the EU Council Voting Calculator.

On 26 June, the Energy Council adopted its General Approach on the Energy Efficiency Directive in which Member States supported a 30% energy efficiency target (see here) without specifying its nature (binding/indicative).

However already at that Council, seven Member States (France, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal, Sweden) submitted a statement calling for higher ambition in the course of negotiations (page 10 here).

France, Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg, Portugal and Sweden all support a binding energy efficiency target.

Sweden is now supporting a 35% energy efficiency target in line with Parliament's position (here) and France is also said to be able to support a target up to 35%. Portugal, Luxembourg and The Netherlands, without specifying a number, are recorded to support a higher target than what was agreed in the General Approach. Denmark and Germany have as official position 30% binding, but are unlikely to block higher ambition.

To our knowledge, the other EU Member States have not so far indicated that they will be able to move beyond the position agreed in the Council General Approach on the Energy Efficiency Directive on 26 June 2017. Also, it is worth recalling that on that occasion, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania and Slovakia voted against this weak position and that Bulgaria, Slovenia and the United Kingdom abstained (see here and corrigendum here).

WWF supports introducing an at least 40% energy savings target for 2030 to ensure benefits to European citizens are maximised and help the EU enact the Paris Agreement.

Member States' positions (April 2018) - Renewable energy target for 2030

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The pictures maps Member States' positions on the 2030 renewable energy target ahead of the Informal Energy Council in Sofia, according to WWF's best understanding. The exact voting weight of each country can be found in the EU Council Voting Calculator.

On 18 December 2017, the Council agreed on a General Approach on the Renewable Energy Directive in which Member States supported an at least 27% EU binding renewable energy target.

From our understanding, the only Member States that have been vocal against revising the General Approach on this point are the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and the United Kingdom.

Denmark, Luxembourg and The Netherlands are expected to  support a higher target than agreed in the General Approach, although they have not specified how much higher.  France and Germany clearly support a 30% target with Germany likely to support even higher ambition. Portugal and Sweden are supporting a 35% renewable energy target.

The European Commission has also now updated its modelling of the Impact Assessments underpinning the Clean Energy for all Europeans package to reflect the dramatic fall of renewable energy technology costs. This analysis show that higher ambition, with significant lower costs than what initially predicted, is within reach.

WWF supports a target of at least 45% renewable energy target for 2030. This will ensure maximum benefits to European citizens, and help the EU uphold the Paris Agreement.

For more information:

Arianna Vitali
Senior Policy Officer
WWF European Policy Office
Tel: +32 2 743 88 16

Sarah Azau
Senior Communications Officer
WWF European Policy Office
Tel: +32 473 57 31 37

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