Seán Kelly MEP and Leader of Fine Gael in the European Parliament today secured the backing of MEPs on an EU-wide binding target to ensure 35 percent of the energy mix will be made up of renewable energy by 2030.
Mr Kelly, who co-authored the key energy report and led negotiations on for the European People's Party grouping, said the target was both good news for the climate and yet realistic. The Ireland South MEP further highlighted that the new target presents a huge opportunity for Ireland to boost its use of natural energy resources.
"I am delighted that we were able to reach an agreement that delivers a broad majority in the Industry, Research and Energy Committee of the European Parliament in favour of boosting renewable energy deployment in the EU. These negotiations were not easy, but I am lucky to have enjoyed a great working relationship with report author José Blanco López throughout this process, and in the end we were able to deliver a compromise that suited all sides”, Mr Kelly MEP said following the adoption of the Report on the Promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources by the parliamentary committee today.
The creation of an Energy Union in Europe to provide secure, affordable and climate-friendly energy is vital in Mr Kelly's view.
"Today’s vote, which calls for an EU-wide target of 35 percent of renewables in the energy-mix by 2030, is both balanced and realistic," he continued.
"The energy transition from fossil fuels to renewables is crucial, but we must also ensure that it goes hand-in-hand with maintaining EU competitiveness and growth. Being unrealistic in our ambition would be counterproductive and certain, more extreme groups fail to acknowledge the impacts of putting such high policy costs onto our energy price, both for industries and household consumers.
"This Directive is a vital piece of legislation that will help us create new jobs in Europe, meet our obligations under the Paris Agreement, and indeed fulfil President Juncker's goal for the EU to be the world leader in renewable energy.”
“In Ireland we have made some great progress in deploying renewables in the electricity sector and are on track to reach 40pc renewable electricity by 2020. However we are not on track in terms renewables in our transport and heating sectors. Our priority in the coming years must be to increase the renewable shares in these sectors, and I call on the government to follow the lead we in Parliament have given today in this regard.
“This means replacing heating oil boilers with renewable solutions like biomass, geothermal, solar thermal and heat pumps; greening our gas grid with the injection of renewable methane gas that our farming sector can produce. And in transport, increasing the share of biofuels in our fuel mix, and better incentivising the uptake of electric vehicles."
MEPs today backed a sensible, pragmatic, yet ambitious agreement which will hopefully will be confirmed when the Report is voted in the full plenary session at a later date, according to Mr Kelly.