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EU Parliament backs new renewables goals

A summit regarding Europe’s future energy policy last week has seen MEPs backing proposals for new EU targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% before 2050. And, the meetings of the full EU Parliament in Strasbourg saw support for a 60% renewable energy target.


As Europe continues to re-draft its energy policy following the EU Commission’s Second Strategic Energy Review, the MEPs called for climate change to be the priority for EU spending, rather than energy security, which is the current priority. The discussions formed part of the early stages of forming the next wave of EU energy policy, which is expected to result in a number of new Directives or regulations.

The energy report was adopted by 406 votes to 168, while the climate change report was adopted by an even larger majority of 570 to 78 votes. The next stage for Europe’s future energy policy is for Member States to discuss proposals at next month’s European Council meeting.

Some of the main points within the report, as approved by MEPs, included:

* 80% greenhouse gas emission cuts by 2050
* 20% energy saving target for 2020 to be legally binding
* 35% energy saving target for 2050
* 60% renewable energy target for 2050
* Better energy connections between Member States
* Single EU grid for electricity, gas, single transmission operator
* Easier access for renewables to grid
* Closer links between farming and energy
* Incentives for local energy crops
* Incentives for using more biomass in fossil fuel plants
* More energy storage and “smart” grids
* Welcome for nuclear power, concern about safety
* Call for “road map” for energy in 2050

As well as the 80% target, which falls in line with existing climate change targets, the European Parliament wants a target in the region of 25%-40% in emissions cuts by 2020.

The MEPs also called for more research and development work regarding cleaner forms of transport, including the use of hydrogen, fuel cells and advanced biofuels to power cars, as well as electric and hybrid vehicles.