A new IRENA report claims that the European Union can double the share of renewable energy in its energy mix on 2016 with a net positive economic impact.
Presenting the findings during a launch event, IRENA’s Director-General Adnan Z Amin highlighted that achieving higher shares of renewable energy is possible with today’s technology, and would trigger additional investments of around EUR 368 billion until 2030 – equal to an average annual contribution of 0.3% of the GDP of the EU.
The number of people employed in the sector across the EU – currently 1.2 million – would grow significantly under a revised strategy.
Raising the share of renewable energy would help reduce emissions by a further 15% by 2030 – an amount equivalent to Italy’s total emissions.
These reductions would bring the EU in line with its goal to reduce emissions by 40 per cent compared to 1990 levels, and set it on a positive pathway towards longer-term decarbonisation.
The increase would result in savings of between EUR 44 billion and EUR 113 billion per year by 2030, when accounting for savings related to the cost of energy, and avoided environmental and health costs.
“For decades now, through ambitious long-term targets and strong policy measures, Europe has been at the forefront of global renewable energy deployment,” said Mr Amin.
“With an ambitious and achievable new renewable energy strategy, the EU can deliver market certainty to investors and developers, strengthen economic activity, grow jobs, improve health and put the EU on a stronger decarbonisation pathway in line with its climate objectives.”
The report – Renewable Energy Prospects for the European Union – highlights that all EU Member States have additional cost-effective renewable energy potential, noting that renewable heating and cooling options account for more than one-third of the EU’s additional renewables potential.
Furthermore, all renewable transport options will be needed to realise EU’s long-term decarbonisation objectives.