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Renewables could be cheapest source of low-carbon energy by 2030

The Renewable Energy Association (REA) is calling on European leaders to set effective renewable energy targets for EU members states in the 2030 energy and climate framework, which will be finalised at a meeting of the European Council this week.

According to REA, with continued growth and an effective carbon price almost all renewable technologies – across heating, power and transport – could be providing low-carbon energy without subsidy by 2030.

This could mean renewables are likely to be the cheapest supply-side option for achieving the 2030 greenhouse gas targets required to avoid dangerous climate change.

The European Commission has proposed an EU-wide renewable energy target of “at least 27%”, alongside a 40% reduction in greenhouse gases and a 30% increase in energy efficiency.

The REA says this is a weaker market signal than the 20% renewables target in the 2020 framework, as it is not ambitious and is not binding on individual member states.

It echoes the call of the European Renewable Energies Federation for a trio of greenhouse gas savings , energy efficiency and renewable energy targets, each of at least 40%. To maximise their effectiveness, these targets should be legally binding and distributed to member state level.

REA chief executive Dr Nina Skorupska said: “People working in UK renewables simply don’t know whether the Government wants the industry to keep growing or not. There have been so many mixed signals this parliament that it has become almost impossible for our members to plan and invest for their future. 2030 renewables targets for member states will give businesses the certainty they need.

“If this doesn’t happen, it will be up to the UK government to set out its own vision for renewables in the 2020s and beyond. As renewables businesses are usually smaller and younger than fossil fuel and nuclear companies, a ‘technology neutral’ framework will leave them at a disadvantage. With clear market signals though, renewables will be the cheapest source of low-carbon energy without the need for subsidy well before 2030.”

The REA will analyse the implications of the final 2030 energy and climate framework at an event in London on 4 December.

The “2030 Climate and Energy Framework: stakeholder reaction, UK policy and delivery implications” event is the first event in the REA’s new renewable energy policy and politics series and will explore the challenge of how to place renewables at the heart of the UK’s national plan for delivering its 2030 energy and climate change objectives.

It will be chaired by Alan Whitehead and Tim Yeo from the Energy and Climate Change Committee.

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