U.K. Renewables Groups Challenge EU Over New Energy Policy

Posted by SI Staff on January 22, 2014 No Comments
Categories : Policy Watch

The Renewable Energy Association (REA) and Solar Trade Association (STA), both based in the U.K., have expressed disappointment in the European Commission's (EC) newly proposed 2030 energy and climate change framework because it does not establish binding targets for European Union (EU) member states.

The groups say the EC framework sets a binding renewable energy target for the EU as a whole of at least 27%. Instead of specific targets for member states, the proposal relies on national energy plans ensured by the new governance system based on national energy plans. The REA and STA are concerned that the U.K. government has been pushing strongly for a"technology-neutral," approach, downplaying the role of renewables.

‘We're about to find out what happens when theoretical economics meets the real world,’ says Nina Skorupska, chief executive of the REA, in a statement. ‘Theory suggests a 'technology-neutral' approach is economically efficient. But experience shows that binding renewables targets do two things: First, they give a major long-term boost to investor confidence, helping accelerate market growth and technology cost reduction. Second, politics frequently trumps economics in the real world, and when politicians go wobbly on renewables, the targets help keep investment flowing.’

The groups says existing 2020 targets have been key to the recent growth in renewables and have been particularly valuable when negative rhetoric from ministers has damaged market confidence in the U.K.

‘It's shocking that the U.K. government, one of the poorest performers on renewables in Europe, sought to squash such a valuable target,’ says Leonie Greene, head of external affairs at the STA, in a statement. ‘Now under this pan-EU target approach, we are likely to see a scenario where countries like Germany that take a long-term perspective continue to strongly back their renewables industry into the next decade, while we fall even further behind.’

The REA and STA pledge to continue to push for binding EU member state renewable energy targets.

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