Prompted by Russia’s war on Ukraine, the European Union has launched an effort to raise the target share of renewables in its total energy mix to 45%, from 40%, by 2030. Its new REPowerEU plan also calls for enhanced energy conservation and supply diversity—with $220 billion in new public and private investment envisioned by 2027 to transition from Russian supplied energy.
Already on target to cut those fossil fuel imports by one-third this year, the European Commission now aims to eliminate them totally by 2027. Russia now earns about $100 billion per year in oil and gas sales to the EU. The new plan aims to accelerate liquefied natural gas imports from the U.S. and Canada, and pipeline gas imports from Norway.
Renewable Targets Boosted
But offshore and onshore wind power, rooftop solar and biomethane production all have “huge potential,” says Frans Timmermans, European Commission executive vice president. Renewables would account for about 25% of the new investment, according to the plan.
Under the new targets, the share of wind and solar energy in electricity generation would double to 67%, according to EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson. Spending on installed wind would increase by $41 billion from an earlier set target to $510 billion, with solar investment set to rise by $62 billion to $592 billion, according to EC data.
The Commission has also set a target to produce 10 million metric tons of hydrogen from renewable sources, and import another 10 million metric tons by 2030 to help decarbonize some industries.
Separately, clean energy developer Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) said May 20 it plans to build an artificial island in the North Sea to produce renewable hydrogen, powered by 10 GW of offshore wind from Denmark. The project would supply about 1 million metric tons per year of green hydrogen at full capacity by 2030, which would be about 7% of expected EU hydrogen demand by then, said the firm.
Hydrogen produced could be exported to nearby countries such as Germany, Holland and Belgium to produce sustainable transport fuels, said CIP. About 275 km of hydrogen pipelines also are planned to transport the renewable gas to shore. “Green energy will be harvested on a large scale out at sea, tied together by energy islands, converted into green hydrogen, and transported across borders via offshore hydrogen infrastructure,” Thomas Dalsgaard, a company partner, said in a statement. The firm did not disclose the project cost estimate, or what approvals it has or still needs.
CIP also said it reached an agreement with Allianz Investment Management for a feasibility study to build another North Sea artificial energy island near Germany, which also would be connected to large-scale offshore wind farms.
Spanish energy utility Iberdrola said at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland on May 25 that it would invest as much as $3.2 billion in green hydrogen, but did not specify a timeline.