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Caspian Energy Journal Caspian European Club
Monday, 18 January 2016 20:30

EU sees 40% emissions cutting by 2030 its commitment

Five years on, in Paris, the world recognized the intrinsic link between an energy sector accounting for two thirds of global emissions and our global climate goals, Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete said at the General Asembly of IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency): Ministerial Roundtable "Concerted action towards RE deployment" in Abu Dhabi, Caspian Energy News (www.caspianenergy.net) reports with reference to the press statement of the European Commission.

 “And that really is timely because the simple truth is that renewables have been proven to reduce emissions. In one year alone, renewable energy helped to reduce Europe's emissions by the equivalent of Spain's annual emissions. But just like the rest of the world, we now have to step up our efforts to make sure we meet our renewables commitments. For the European Union that means a minimum 27% share of renewables in our energy system by 2030. The good news is that half of the 185 Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) submitted before COP21 included explicit energy targets. And most of those focused on increased renewables deployment. That's a big step when you consider that the new Chinese and Indian targets alone would triple global renewable energy production, if they were achieved”, Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete noted.

According to him, that shows us two things. Firstly, it shows the scale of the potential that renewables hold in the next 15 years. And secondly, it disproves one of the oldest myths: that economic growth needs CO2 emissions.

For years we were told that switching to renewables didn’t make economic sense. Today, we know the opposite is true. Let me give you four reasons why:

Firstly, Investment is up – by 17% globally in 2014 and 4% in 2015. Only last year, clean energy attracted a record $329bn in global investment, nearly six times its 2004 total. For Europe only, $58.5billion were invested last year.

Secondly, over the 18 months to the end of 2015, the price of Brent crude plunged 67% from $112.36 to $37.28 per barrel, and much lower today. The investment figures I just mentioned are a stunning riposte to all those who expected clean energy investment to stall on falling oil and gas prices.

Thirdly, costs are falling – down 80% and 33% for solar and on-shore wind respectively since 2009.

And finally, renewables create jobs - Solar PV deployment now creates twice the number of jobs per unit of electricity generation compared with coal and gas.

That is why in Europe we see our commitment to cutting emissions by at least 40% by 2030 as an important opportunity to transform our economy.

But we have a lot more work to do to get there.

That is why our new €315 Billion European Fund for Strategic Investments, launched last year, has made renewable energy projects a priority.

We are talking of major projects like the Galloper Wind Farm in the UK, where €300m of EU investment is helping to build an offshore wind farm capable of providing enough clean energy to supply over 300,000 homes from 56 of the world’s largest wind turbines.

The NER 300 programme is another meaningful contribution from the EU: this program aims at co-financing demonstration projects for environmentally safe carbon capture and storage (CCS) and innovative renewable energy.

It is funded from the sale of 300 million allowances of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS): this is a blatant implementation of the polluter-pays principle.

Already 38 renewable energy projects have been selected. The awarded funding totals €2.1 billion, ranging from €5 million to €300 million per project, which is expected to leverage approximately €2.7 billion of private investments.

The European Commission is also supporting the development of the next generation renewable electricity technologies through its research programme Horizon2020.

Calls for proposals in several key priority areas for renewables are currently ongoing with up to €355 million set to be made available in 2016.

The idea is to use public money as leverage for private sector investment in clean energy.

These projects are so important when you consider that $13.5 trillion of investment in clean energy technologies and energy efficiency will be needed to implement the INDCs.

Around half of all INDC submissions include explicit energy-focused targets, either alongside a GHG target or as a stand-alone goal. The most common energy-related measures are those that target increased renewables deployment (40% of submissions), or improved efficiency in energy use (one-third of submissions), Cañete resumed.

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