Following on from positive strides towards the 2020 renewable energy goal, the EU has raised its aspirations for 2030 and set a 32pc renewables target for the EU bloc. The EU climate chief said that the new target had been a hard-won achievement for onward progress towards a clean energy future in Europe.
The new target, agreed by energy ministers across the member states, will be binding and represent a 5pc increase against the original 27pc target. However, some green groups and member nations had hoped to see a more ambitious goal agreed.
The deal was agreed after 18 months of debate and negotiation. The EU energy utility trade body said that, as a compromise agreement, it was well balanced. The renewables industry as a whole also welcomed the news.
The UK government had wanted to see a 30pc target and France wanted 32pc. Spain and Italy argued for a 35pc goal. The climate commissioner, Miguel Arias Canete, said that the new target would allow the EU to achieve its goals under the Paris agreement and result in new skilled jobs, a lesser reliance on imported energy and more competitive energy bills for energy customers. He added that the goal's binding nature would also offer investors an attractive degree of certainty for funding private projects.
The UK will now negotiate whether the renewables target will apply to Britain after it leaves the EU, and this will depend on the Brexit deal with Brussels. There will be a review in 2023 to see if the target should be raised even higher. In 2016, the EU produced 17pc of its energy from renewables, compared to the UK at around 9pc.
Many UK bodies and green groups want to see the government raise its aspirations for a low-carbon economy.