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EU 'policy evolution' needed to help businesses meet clean energy targets

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Business-led clean energy coalition group RE100 is calling upon the European Union (EU) to deliver a series of “transformational changes” to energy policy, in order to help firms meet their individual renewable energy targets.

The calls come backed by a new report from think tank E3G, which suggests that, in order to assist the private sector in meeting its ambitious clean energy targets, the bloc must consider the following:

  • Adopt more ambitious renewables targets.
  • Facilitate free trade of clean energy across borders.
  • Retain priority access for renewables projects to the grid.

Thomas Lingard, climate advocacy and sustainability strategy director at Unilever, said: “To scale the benefits of renewable energy we need both business action and policy evolution.

“As more and more leading businesses actively look to source 100 per cent renewable energy, we need a Renewable Energy Directive that supports, not holds back these ambitions.”

John Harris, renewable energy investment manager at IKEA Group, added: “Whether companies purchase renewable electricity or want to generate renewable power themselves, we are all looking to EU policy to support us in reaching our target of 100 per cent renewable power”.

Further, significant uncertainty has arisen regarding Britain’s future relationship with the EU and with EU energy policy since the 23 June Referendum. Whether EU directives will be held onto following Brexit is yet to be seen.

Last week, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) launched its first inquiry into the UK’s Brexit negotiation priorities for energy and climate change policy, to examine which aspects of EU policy should be maintained following the UK’s eventual exit from the EU.

BEIS committee chairman Ian Wright said: “We are keen to hear from stakeholders about what they want from the UK’s exit negotiations and we will want to consider how best to maintain investor confidence and security of supply as we leave the EU.

“We also want to explore how, post-Brexit, the UK can build on its international standing in climate leadership and as a centre for low-carbon innovation.”

Despite Mr Wright’s comments, a recent study from EY Global has revealed that Britain has dropped to a ‘new low’ on an international ‘league table’ of countries ranked by investor attractiveness in the renewables sector.

In EY’s Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index, Britain appeared at fourteenth place, just behind Morocco.