The European Green Deal

The European Green Deal, presented by the European Commission (EC) in December 2019, is, as described by Ursula von der Leyen President of the EC, “Europe’s new growth strategy”. It has the target of a carbon-neutral Europe by 2050 through one trillion euros of investment.

Clean energy is clearly a core component of the Deal, as the production and use of energy currently account for more than 75 percent of the EU’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Specifically, bioenergy responds to many of the aims of the new Deal, as it leads to GHG emission savings, benefits EU jobs and energy security (being primarily sourced from within the territory), and promotes circularity through the utilisation of residues and wastes.

One of the key principles of the EU strategy is to increase the share of renewables in the power sector, which currently account for only 17.5 percent of the final energy consumption (data from 2017). In order to reflect this new climate ambition, EU energy legislation will be reviewed and revised by June 2021. It will be important that these revisions reinforce the investor confidence built during the reforms to the Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) through the increase in the ambition level of the current targets.

The current global pandemic threatens the strategy, as investment in renewable energy has fallen along with energy prices, and supply chains appear vulnerable. The EU Recovery Plan will need to be strongly linked to the next generation EU in order to ensure that investments in recovery are aligned with the sustainable development strategy. The next few months will be telling as to whether this has been achieved.

More information on the EU Green Deal available online.