The European Union is fully committed to make the clean energy transition a reality and has been leading the way forward.
The EU has successfully decoupled its CO2 emissions from its economic growth: between 1990 and 2016, greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 22% while the economy grew by 54% over the same period.
Last year, the EU continued to demonstrate its ability to turn its commitments into actions.
Important and rapid progress were made in the interinstitutional negotiations on the Clean Energy for All Europeans package.
This package sets the most advanced regulatory framework to modernise the energy system, support clean energies, innovation, high-quality employment as well as a strong industrial basis in Europe, while putting consumers at the heart of a clean and fair energy transition.
Already four of the eight legislative proposals have come into force, notably on energy efficiency and the energy performance of buildings, renewable energies and governance.
Clear and ambitious objectives have been set going beyond what was initially proposed reflecting technology development, cost reduction and the necessity for Europe to show ambition and leadership in the fight against climate change.
New targets were agreed at EU-level by 2030 of at least 32.5% for energy efficiency and of at least 32% for renewables.
Both targets include the possibility of a further upward revision in 2023. The new governance system will ensure that Member States can work together towards achieving the 2030 objectives, while providing investors’ certainty.
In addition, new rules for making the EU’s electricity market work better have been provisionally agreed. This will ensure that the energy system is more flexible and able to integrate the growing share of renewables in a secure and cost-competitive way.
Indeed, already today, over 30% of Europe’s electricity is generated by renewable energies and this share is expected to exceed 50% by 2030.
Consumers will also be able to participate more actively in the market and play a central part in the clean energy transition.
The new electricity market design will also contribute to the creation of jobs and growth, and attract investments.
These provisional agreements on the new electricity market design mark the completion of negotiations on the Clean Energy for All Europeans package, putting the EU in the lead in terms of rules to accelerate and facilitate the clean energy transition.
This takes the EU a step closer towards delivering the Energy Union.
The clean energy for All Europeans package is not only relevant for the energy system; it is also contributing to the decarbonisation of other economic sectors and notably the transport sector where decarbonisation is key to achieving Europe’s commitments under the Paris Agreement.
Indeed, transport accounts for over 33% of Europe’s energy consumption and about a quarter of Europe’s CO2 emissions. It is the main cause of air pollution in cities.
More specifically, road transport accounts for more that 70% of greenhouse gas emissions related to transport. In that context, the clean energy transition plays a central role to successfully move towards low-carbon mobility.
The potential for the decarbonisation of transport is significant and actions are needed on all fronts ranging from increasing the share of renewable energies, developing renewable hydrogen and accelerating the electrification in the transport sector.
The new Renewable Energy Directive notably promotes cleaner transport by setting a share of at least 14% coming from renewable sources by 2030.
It also includes a sub-target to promote advanced biofuels. Besides, the new Energy Performance of Buildings Directive includes ambitious provisions to ensure that buildings’ car parks will be progressively equipped with recharging points for electric vehicles, both in residential and non-residential buildings.
The new electricity market design will also support the uptake of electric vehicles and their integration into the grid through more flexibility, proper price signals and measures for the connection of recharging points to the electricity distribution network.
The clean energy transition is a clear economic opportunity with tangible benefits for the economy, EU industries and all Europeans.
When it comes to clean mobility and in particular electro-mobility, the EU is committed to build a strong industrial basis and a strong market for batteries in Europe.
This is notably the objective of the EU Battery Alliance which aims at creating a whole competitive value chain in Europe. Between 2018 and 2020, the Commission will invest €200 million from the Horizon 2020 programme to support the development and production in Europe of the next generation of electric batteries.
This will contribute to the competitiveness of EU industries and to the ongoing transition of the EU economy.
The shift to renewables and increased electrification is central to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. It is expected that the share of electricity in the EU’s final energy consumption will more than double by 2050, compared to the current 21% share.
This is notably due to the accelerated electrification of the transport and heating and cooling sector in the context of the clean energy transition.
This is highlighted in the strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy by 2050 “A Clean Planet for all” adopted by the Commission last November.
This long-term strategy looks at the transition necessary in all sectors of the economy, including the strong inter-linkages between the energy and transport sectors.
It shows how Europe can continue to lead the way to climate neutrality by modernizing the economy while ensuring social fairness for a just transition that works for all Europeans.