The European Union can boost the share of renewables to 34 percent of its energy mix by 2030, triggering hundreds of billions euros in investment and accelerating reduction of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
Lawmakers in the 28-nation bloc are currently discussing policies for the next decade, with the European Parliament calling to increase the share of renewables to at least 35 percent of energy consumption, more than level of 27 percent or more endorsed by the heads of government. That compares with 17 percent reached in 2016 as part of the EU strategy to cut pollution and increase energy security.
“With an ambitious and achievable new renewable energy strategy, the EU can deliver market certainty to investors and developers, strengthen economic activity, grow jobs, improve health and put the EU on a stronger decarbonization pathway in line with its climate objectives,” Irena Director-General Adnan Amin said in a statement on Monday.
Reaching the 34 percent level would need an average investment in renewable energy of around 62 billion euros per year, according to a report launched by IRENA in Brussels. The higher share of renewables would in turn trigger additional investment of around 368 billion euros by 2030 and “significantly” boost jobs in the sector in Europe, it said.
The increase would also help lower emissions by a further 15 percent, about the same as what Italy produces. That would bring the EU in line with its target to cut carbon-dioxide discharges by 40 percent in the next decade, the organization estimated. The share of renewables in the power sector would rise to 50 percent by 2030, compared with 29 percent in 2015.
“The report confirms our own assessments that the costs of renewables have come down significantly in the last couple of years, and that we need to consider these new realities in our ambition levels for the upcoming negotiations to finalize Europe’s renewable energy policies,” said EU Climate and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete.