Clean energy is a fundamental pillar of the Green Deal for Europe. The production and use of energy is highly relevant for employment and economic development, and for vulnerability to external price shocks or problems of security of supply.
Member States now have two key EU strategies at their disposal:
- A Strategy for energy system integration and
- Hydrogen strategy.
With these documents, the European Commission follows up on the Green Deal for Europe with the aim of decarbonising the European energy system. Both strategies aim not only at energy transformation, but also at strengthening the competitiveness and technological maturity of the EU countries in the international arena. In addition, the transition to clean energy in Europe’s most affected regions will be supported by a key EU instrument, the Just Transition Mechanism.
Providing energy efficiency is an EU priority, with further decarbonising of the energy system “critical” to reaching climate objectives in 2030 and 2050.
The EU was an early mover on clean energy: back in 2009, the EU was the first to set ambitious energy and climate targets. The 2020 objectives of achieving a 20% greenhouse gas emission reduction, 20% in renewable energy and 20% energy efficiency were ground-breaking at the time.
A decade later, the EU is broadly on track to achieve the 2020 objectives. We have felt the economic benefits of clean energy: it is possible to reduce emissions and achieve GDP growth plus a net increase in employment in the energy sector. Moreover, renewable energy in Europe has become much cheaper. Solar and wind power now compete on market terms with other forms of power generation.
It says the production and use of energy across economic sectors account for more than 75% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions. It believes a power sector must be developed that is based largely on renewable sources, complemented by the “rapid phasing out of coal and decarbonising gas”.
For this to become a possibility, the deal adds that it is “essential to ensure that the European energy market is fully integrated, interconnected and digitalised, while respecting technological neutrality”.
The union’s clean energy transition will focus on the opportunities renewable energy sources can provide and says it will “have an essential role”.
The deal adds that increasing offshore wind production will be essential and believes the smart integration of renewables, energy efficiency and other sustainable solutions across sectors will “help to achieve decarbonisation at the lowest possible cost”.
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