The European Commission has proposed climate and energy targets for 2030 of a 40% emission reduction from the 1990 level and at least 27% renewables generation, along with further efforts on energy efficiency, among other actions.

These targets, forming part of a proposed new climate and energy framework, are intended to bridge the gap between the current 20/20/20 targets for 2020, and the 2050 objective to reduce the GHG emissions by 80-95% below the 1990 levels – and ensure regulatory certainty for investors and a coordinated approach among member states, leading to the development of new technologies, an EC statement states.

Under the current and agreed policies, the 2020 emission reduction and renewables targets should be met, but only half the 2050 emission reduction target would be achieved, a recent EU report found.

The 40% emission reduction target is seen as the centerpiece of the policy and is envisaged to be met through domestic measures alone. The annual reduction in the ‘cap’ on emissions from EU emissions trading system (ETS) sectors would be increased from 1.74% now to 2.2% after 2020. Emissions from sectors outside the EU ETS would need to be cut by 30% below the 2005 level, and this effort would be shared equitably between the member states.

The minimum 27% renewable target is envisaged to be binding EU-wide, and is regarded as necessary to drive continued investment in the sector. However, it would not be translated to national targets and member states would be able to set their own targets based on national preferences and circumstances.

Regarding energy efficiency, it is proposed to further consider its role in a review of the Energy Efficiency Directive due to be concluded later this year.

“The 2030 framework is the EU’s drive for progress towards a competitive low carbon economy, investment stability and security of energy supply,” commented Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger. “The 2030 framework sets a high level of ambition for action against climate change, but it also recognizes that this needs to be achieved at least cost. The internal energy market provides the basis to achieve this goal and I will continue to work on its completion in order to use its full potential.”

In the modelling, intelligent IT systems in power distribution and in metering, as well as for managing recharging of car batteries are assumed to develop at large scale so as to become common practice before 2030.

The proposals, including a reform of the EU emissions trading system and a new governance framework, will now be debated in the coming months in the European Council and parliament.

By Jonathan Spencer Jones