News item | 2014-01-29 | 14:53 PM

Vattenfall positive as EU outlines new climate goals

Vattenfall's EU expert Sabine Froning comments on the EU Commission's proposal for long term energy and climate goals and the effects for Vattenfall.

Until 2020, the EU is committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent, use 20 percent of energy from renewable sources and to reduce energy consumption by 20 percent.

The European Commission's new proposal is

  • to cut emissions 40 percent by 2030 (compared to 1990 levels)
  • 27 percent of the energy consumption should come from renewable sources by 2030, but without the national targets currently in force
  • no new energy efficiency targets
  • a reform of the EU ETS carbon trading system by proposing a market stability reserve, which would make the system more resilient to 'major shocks' and address the surplus of emission allowances


What positive changes does Vattenfall see in the 2030 proposal, Sabine Froning, Director European Affairs and Policy Management?

"We especially welcome the proposal for a binding European CO2-reduction target of 40 percent. This level is consistent with the EU's objective to almost fully decarbonize by 2050. The proposal for a reform of the EU carbon trading system, by proposing a market stability reserve, means that the carbon price will be more predictable and more strongly driven by mid- and long-term emission reductions."

What else is interesting in the package?
"The suggestion that 27 percent of the energy should come from renewable sources. Under the current proposal, Member States would have to commit themselves to national renewable targets and present their measures and policies to achieve these in national plans. The Commission in return would assess these plans and propose additional measures at European level if needed. A challenge will be to ensure that the policies used on both EU and national levels are more coordinated in the future. There is a risk of further delays in policy and market integration.

Also, that there are no set goals yet for energy efficiency. Instead the Commission will be back with proposals when Member States' efforts have been investigated later this year. The package also includes recommendations for countries that want to extract shale gas."

How likely will the proposal be accepted by the Member States?
"The ambition of the proposals reflects a compromise. So far, eight Member States, including Germany, France and Italy, have called for both a strong climate target and a robust renewables target. Others, such as Poland and the United Kingdom, have expressed themselves in favour of a climate target only. Therefore, the likelihood of acceptance is rather high. In comparison, the European Parliament is calling for a binding target trio: 40% CO2 reduction, 30% renewables, 40% energy efficiency improvement."

Finally, Vattenfall has left the CEO initiative that was heavily criticized for being "against renewables", can you comment?
"Vattenfall supported the initiative to create a sense of urgency for revitalising the emissions trading system and the need for a European debate on current market problems. As this impetus has been taken up by politicians, we felt the initiative has fulfilled its purpose."

EU's energy and climate goals for 2030