If the new European Commission is serious about decarbonising Europe’s economy, it needs to take decisive action to secure a zero-carbon target for 2050, WindEurope said on 5 September.
“Europe needs to start getting much more electricity into heating, transport and industry, WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson said. “It needs to invest in infrastructure for the energy transition. And it should put renewables at the heart of Europe’s Research & Innovation priorities and industrial strategy. If the Commission can prioritise these points, Europe will reap the benefits in carbon reductions – and in jobs and investment,” he added.
The organisation, which is the voice of the wind industry and has over 400 members, active in over 35 countries, suggested 5 priorities for the incoming European Commission of Ursula von der Leyen.
“First, they should focus on both ambition and delivery on decarbonisation. Zero-net carbon by 2050 is technically and economically feasible,” WindEurope said in a press release, adding that 2030 National Energy & Climate Plans should make clear progress towards this goal – not least to meet the growing demand for renewable energy from consumers and industry.
“Second, the Commission should take a smart approach to electricity and gas,” WindEurope said, noting that the share of electricity in the energy mix has to rise from 24% today to at least 60% by 2050. “It’s the most cost-effective and energy-efficient way to decarbonise heating, transport and much of industry. Hydrogen from renewable electricity will also have a role to play,” the wind group argued.
Third, WindEurope called for the new Commission to promote infrastructure investment. “The energy transition requires a major investment in grids, storage, electric vehicle charging points and other infrastructure, such as ports for offshore wind. InvestEU and any new Europe Future Fund will play a key role, alongside Structural Funds and other existing instruments,” the press release read.
Wind Europe also called for Research & Innovation. “Renewable energy needs to be a priority for the EU’s new €100 billion research programme, Horizon Europe. And the Commission needs to support continued innovation in technologies where Europe has led, such as onshore wind, as well as emerging technologies,” it said.
Finally, WindEurope argued that a low-carbon industrial policy with renewable energy as the backbone. “The wind industry employs more than 300,000 people in Europe today and exports €8 billion worth of high-tech equipment outside the EU each year. Being able to import components and materials without barriers is central to the competitiveness of the European wind industry,” the group said.