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The European Commission has released a report assessing European Union (EU) member states' progress toward achieving their 2020 renewable energy targets. In addition, the commission adopted a Green Paper that it says launches a public consultation on the content of a 2030 framework for climate change and energy policies.

According to the commission, the renewable energy progress report finds that the current policy framework of legally binding renewable energy targets has resulted in strong growth of the renewable energy sector until 2010, with an EU renewable energy share of 12.7%.

For progress to continue and to meet the renewable energy targets in 2020, however, the commission says more efforts will be needed. Efforts must be especially made in creating certainty for investors, reducing the administrative burden and increasing clarity in planning, the commission adds.

The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) has commended the commission for acknowledging that national policy changes may hinder renewable energy progress. EWEA says this echoes its concerns that changes to support mechanisms are driving away investors and making it more difficult and expensive to achieve the 2020 targets.

The European Commission says its Green Paper on a 2030 policy framework raises a set of questions, including the following:

- Which type, nature and level of climate and energy targets should be set for 2030?

- How can coherence between different policy instruments be attained?

- How can the energy system best contribute to EU competitiveness?

- How can member states' different capacities to act be taken into account?

The consultation runs until July 2. On the basis of the views expressed by member states, EU institutions and stakeholders, the commission says that it intends to table the EU's 2030 framework for climate and energy policies by the end of this year.

"We need to define our climate and energy policy framework for 2030 as soon as possible to ensure proper investment that will give us sustainable growth, affordable competitive energy prices and greater energy security,” says Günther Oettinger, EU Commissioner for Energy. “The new framework must take into account the consequences of the economic crisis, but it must also be ambitious enough to meet the necessary long-term goal of cutting emissions 80 to 95 percent by 2050."

Justin Wilkes, EWEA’s director of policy, says that establishing a binding 2030 renewable energy target is essential.

"It is important to put long-term climate and renewable energy policies in place, and the European Commission and Council already agree that an increase in renewable energy is a 'no-regrets' option," says Wilkes. "Energy policy debate over the coming months will be crucial to Europe's future.”

The Green Paper can be found here, and the renewable energy progress report can be found here.





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