EU member states should take advantage of falling costs for renewable energy to invest more in the sector and make it account for a third of total energy output by 2030, an new report said Tuesday.
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) study said the European Union could make renewables account for 34 percent of total production by 2030, up from the current target of 27 percent and twice what it was in 2016.
EU energy commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete welcomed the EU-commissioned report’s timing, which coincides with decreases in costs for solar and wind power.
“The report confirms our own assessments that the costs of renewables have come down significantly in the last couple of years,” the Spanish commissioner said.
He added “that we need to consider these new realities in our ambition levels for the upcoming negotiations to finalise Europe’s renewable energy policies.”
However, the study warned that if the member states stick to their current projects and programmes, renewables will only account for 24 percent of energy output by 2030.
After a peak in 2011, it added, new investments in EU renewables have slowed significantly compared to other large regions of the world.
To reach a share of 34 percent in 2030, it is necessary to invest on average $73 billion (58.8 billion euros) per year, but this would be compensated by lower pollution levels which reduces health care costs, the report said.
The ideal scenario outlined by IRENA calls on the EU to develop all kinds of renewable energy, electric vehicles, use of biomass and alternative heating and air conditioning systems.