Current expansion too slow to reach EU targets by 2030.
This year, the European Union agreed on a new target for renewable energies: their share has to reach at least 42.5 percent by 2030, instead of 32 as initially planned. An analysis by the environmental organization WWF now concludes that the respective wind energy plans of the EU member states are largely in line with this target. Nevertheless, much must be done: the current wind energy capacity must be doubled, and the annual expansion tripled from 16 gigawatts (GW) in 2022 to 44 GW by 2030.
At the same time, WWF points out that the new EU directive is not sufficient to achieve the goals of the Paris climate protection agreement. To limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, as stipulated in the agreement, a 50 percent share of renewable energies is needed by 2030. Only the projections of ten EU member states provide for this, including Austria, Denmark, Germany, Portugal, and Sweden.
To drive the expansion of wind energy, the environmental association recommends “holistic planning” that considers nature and climate as well as social goals, for example, by ensuring that economic benefits for local communities are realized. At the same time, WWF opposes undermining environmental regulations in favor of an accelerated energy transition.
The report was presented ahead of the announced new EU wind package, which aims to strengthen Europe’s struggling wind power industry. Among other things, the industry faces competition from China, rampant bureaucracy, supply bottlenecks for materials, and high prices for raw materials. Earlier this year, European wind power and steel industry representatives had demanded that EU lawmakers secure the supply of raw materials needed for the energy transition (we reported). The EU is currently working on its first law for critical raw materials, but many representatives from industry and research consider the draft to have room for improvement still.