* Brussels debate on 2030 targets likely to be very tough
* Many in business want fewer targets
* Environmentalists say strong targets crucial to change
BRUSSELS, Feb 14 One-hundred percent green
energy for the European Union is realistic by the middle of the
century provided the bloc signs up to ambitious energy policy
goals for 2030, conservation body WWF said in a report on
Debate has begun in Brussels on targets for 2030 to replace
the existing set of 2020 goals, which are to cut carbon
emissions by 20 percent from 1990 levels, improve energy savings
by 20 percent compared with projected use, and increase the
share of renewables in the energy mix to 20 percent.
Targets for 2030 should include energy savings of at least
38 percent compared with business as usual, obtaining 40 percent
of fuel from green sources and cutting carbon emissions by 50
percent, the WWF report says.
"Our report clearly shows that the EU has untapped potential
for cutting energy use, taking full advantage of renewable
sources that could deliver cheaper and more secure energy and
ensuring that a 100 percent renewable system by 2050 remains
within reach," Jason Anderson, head of climate and energy at WWF
European Policy Office, said.
The report is based on analysis by Dutch consultancy Ecofys,
which judged 100 percent renewables by 2050 to be realistic,
although it would require big improvements in energy efficiency,
as well as accelerated development of wind, solar and green
Debate on the 2030 EU targets is likely to be protracted.
While many in business agree on the need for a carbon target,
they tend to be more reluctant to couple that with other
Advocates of natural gas also say the fuel, which is only
half as polluting as coal, must retain a role in ensuring
reliable power and that carbon capture and storage, which
entails burying greenhouse gas emissions, can offset its
If the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, currently overwhelmed by
surplus allowances, could be made to function, some argue that
renewable energy targets should not be necessary because market
forces would naturally shift investment towards carbon-free
energy, such as wind and solar.
The existing efficiency target, the only non-binding target
of the 2020 goals, has proved very hard to meet. Months of
discussion on an Energy Efficiency Directive last year stopped
short of enforcing the full 20 percent savings.
(Reporting by Barbara Lewis; Editing by Mark Heinrich)