The Energiewende Needs Ambitious European Energy and Climate Targets for 2030
“The German Energiewende can only succeed with ambitious targets for greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation, renewables expansion and energy efficiency improvements,” says Prof. Martin Faulstich, Chair of the German Advisory Council on the Environment (SRU). “To that end, it is indispensible that the German government adopts a clear position supporting ambitious targets for the EU.”
In its comment in response to the European Commission’s consultation, ‘A 2030 Framework for Climate and Energy Policies,’ the SRU advocates adopting a GHG mitigation target of at least 45 percent compared to 1990 levels, achieving a renewables share in gross final energy consumption of 40 to 45 percent and effectively realizing available energy efficiency potentials of up to 50 percent savings in primary energy consumption by 2030.
The SRU concludes that the EU’s 2030 energy and climate policy framework should maintain the three separate but mutually interdependent and supportive targets for GHG mitigation, the expansion of renewable energies and energy efficiency improvements that have guided EU policy until now. The SRU considers a GHG mitigation target alone to be insufficient. Without additional targets, the EU-wide expansion of renewables could stagnate, threatening the achievement of the EU’s climate targets. The dynamic renewables expansion witnessed in recent years within the EU was clearly triggered by the legally binding targets laid down in the Renewable Energy Directive. In contrast, the EU’s energy efficiency target for 2020 will presumably be missed as current policies lack legally binding force. This difference emphasizes the importance of having separate, legally binding renewable energy and energy efficiency targets. Having such targets provides planning and investment certainty and can facilitate the coordination of the expansion of renewables, grid and storage capacities.
The European policy triad consisting of separate targets for GHG mitigation, renewables expansion and energy efficiency improvements has linked the German Energiewende to the European agenda as yet. This framework has facilitated Germany’s efforts to be at the vanguard of energy and climate policy both economically and politically. “Being seriously committed to the Energiewende necessarily implies advocating accordingly aligned European targets. We need a more dedicated foreign policy for the Energiewende,” remarks Prof. Miranda Schreurs, member of the SRU and Chair of the European Environmental and Sustainable Development Advisory Councils (EEAC).
The SRU further emphasizes that an ambitious European climate policy target is fundamental to revitalizing the European Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). A substantial carbon price is vital for the success of the Energiewende, as it enables flexible and relatively low-carbon gas-fired power plants to regain competitiveness in the electricity market. Without greater flexibility in conventional power generation, a successful Energiewende cannot be achieved. A sufficiently strong carbon price signal is essential as a driver of innovations that can pave the way towards a low-carbon economy and strengthen Europe’s competitiveness in a sustainable way.
The SRU’s comment “An Ambitious Triple Target for 2030: Comment to the Commission’s Green Paper ‘A 2030 Framework for Climate and Energy Policies’” and a recently published article (in German) on the role of carbon prices for the Energiewende can be downloaded at www.umweltrat.de or be ordered from the SRU secretariat.
For further information please contact Dr. Christian Hey, phone: +49 30 263696-0.
For over forty years the SRU has been advising the German Federal Government on environmental policy issues. The Council is made up of seven professors from a range of different environment-related disciplines. This ensures an encompassing and independent evaluation from a natural scientific and technical point of view, as well as from an economic, legal and political science perspective. The Council is a member of the network of European Environmental and Sustainable Development Advisory Councils (EEAC).
It currently has the following members:
Prof. Dr. Martin Faulstich (Chair), Clausthal University of Technology
Prof. Dr. Karin Holm-Müller (Deputy Chair), Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
Prof. Dr. Harald Bradke, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI, Karlsruhe
Prof. Dr. Christian Calliess, Freie Universität Berlin
Prof. Dr. Heidi Foth, Martin Luther University in Halle-Wittenberg
Prof. Dr. Manfred Niekisch, Goethe University of Frankfurt and Frankfurt Zoo
Prof. Dr. Miranda Schreurs, Freie Universität Berlin
Dr. Christian Hey | idw