EU must step up clean energy drive, CEOs say
Heads of industry and MPs warn that bloc risks falling behind competitors in shift to renewable power
Brussels — A group of 40 EU lawmakers and company CEOs called on the bloc’s top officials to ensure that a planned green overhaul speeds up the deployment of renewable energy and helps the region’s producers in an unprecedented shift to climate neutrality.
The European Commission needs to show ambition and determination to make the EU’s energy system fit for a stricter 2030 emissions-reduction target, they said in an open letter to EC president Ursula von der Leyen and the bloc’s climate chief, Frans Timmermans. The EU regulatory arm is due to unveil a set of measures on July 14 to align its economy with the Green Deal, which aims to make Europe the world’s first net-zero emissions continent.
“Many companies in the EU are ready ‘to walk the talk’, so should the European Commission,” the group, which includes CEOs of BASF, Allianz, Volvo, ThyssenKrupp, Siemens and 17 other companies said in the letter seen by Bloomberg News. “We must not fall behind in our actions. Now is the time to act and be resolute.”
The EU gave its final approval last week to strengthen the 2030 emissions-cut goal to at least 55% from 1990 levels, compared with the previous objective of a 40% reduction. Under the reforms to be proposed next week, it is set to increase the goal for renewables to 38%- 40% of energy consumption by the end of this decade, up from the 32% now.
The reforms are a chance for the bloc to ensure that its renewable energy system is operational as soon as possible after policymakers failed to close gaps in the EU’s industrial strategy, according to the letter, which was also signed by the CEOs of Royal Dutch Shell and TotalEnergies and lawmakers including Germany’s Peter Liese and Greece’s Maria Spyraki.
Clean energy uptake
Reducing industrial greenhouse-gas emissions is one of the biggest challenges of the European transformation. While power producers in the EU cap-and-trade emissions programme cut pollution by 15% last year, manufacturers registered a drop of an average 7%, with industrial output also affected by the pandemic. Accelerating the transition requires a huge uptake of clean energy, said CEOs companies including ArcelorMittal and Titan Cement International said in the letter.
To lead in the shift to low-carbon technologies and innovations, Europe needs infrastructure, access to abundant supplies of power from renewable energy and rapid introduction of new processes for the market at competitive energy prices, according to the letter. Without strong policies and bigger investments, the region will risk delaying emissions cuts, hindering competitiveness and undermining credibility to deliver on climate targets.
The signatories of the letter, who include 18 EU MPs across political groups, called on the commission to ensure that the planned reforms abolish grid bottlenecks, enable the free flow of energy between countries and avoid barriers for the integration of clean power.
“We are still far from the needed volumes and capacity in terms of renewable energy to unleash the industrial electrification business case,” they said. “Global competitors are moving fast. We must not fall behind in our actions.”
Bloomberg News. More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com
Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments?
Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.