EU Commission goes for gas but true energy security comes from renewables | WWF

EU Commission goes for gas but true energy security comes from renewables

Posted on 15 February 2016    
Gas station in Russia
© naturepl.com / Brian and Cherry Alexander / WWF
The European Commission is counting on gas imports to improve Europe’s energy security, Energy Union proposals due tomorrow are likely to show[1]. This is despite the fact that domestic renewable energy and energy efficiency are the most effective ways of doing so.
 
The Commission’s push for gas clearly undermines the EU’s claims to be a ‘climate leader’ and its credibility in international climate diplomacy, as well as Commission President Juncker’s stated ambition to make the EU ‘world number one in renewable energies’.
 
In a new briefing published today, WWF criticises the lack of clarity in the Commission President’s ambition on renewables. There are no clear criteria nor a strategy for achieving this beyond the already agreed, unambitious targets.

“The Commission is backing the wrong horse: unlike gas, renewable energy does not need to be imported, and it brings major economic and climate benefits by creating jobs and cutting greenhouse gas emissions,” said Imke Lübbeke, Head of Climate and Energy at WWF European Policy Office.
 
“President Juncker pledged to make Europe a renewable energy leader, yet the EU is rapidly losing ground to competitor economies. While global investment in renewables grew last year, in Europe such investment was at its lowest since 2006, and concentrated in just a handful of EU Member States,” warned Lübbeke.

In its briefing, ‘Measuring world leadership on renewable energy’, WWF analyses the different ways of measuring European renewable energy ‘leadership’, such as investments, attractiveness of the market, new capacity, job creation and integration with other policy areas.
 
WWF calls on the Commission to draw up a Roadmap showing clear steps and a timetable for moving away from fossil fuels - including gas - and achieving renewable energy world leadership. The EU must also shore up investor confidence in renewables by strengthening its 2030 target and putting in place robust measures to achieve it.
 
Member States must take account of the strong contribution energy efficiency and renewables can make to
security of supply in their forthcoming assessments. 
 
[1] On 16 February, The European Commission is due to publish its ‘winter package’ of Energy Union proposals. These are: a revised Security of Gas Supply Regulation, a Heating and Cooling Strategy, a proposal for a revised Decision on Intergovernmental Agreements in the Field of Energy, a Strategy for Liquefied Natural Gas & Storage and a Decision to establish an Expert Group on the Electricity Interconnector Target.
 
On the Heating and Cooling Strategy, WWF is calling for a 2050 timeline and an approach that prioritises energy efficiency and renewables, and is accompanied by concrete actions. See WWF’s briefing ‘Five principles for the heating and cooling strategy’.
 
Gas station in Russia
© naturepl.com / Brian and Cherry Alexander / WWF Enlarge