It seems like common sense, but some people argue against the EU implementing post-2020 renewable energy targets, and there is certainly a ton of delay on this. A new Leonardo Energy report, however, indicates that implementing a decarbonization target instead of a renewable energy target would cost us more.

From the Leonardo Energy report: “In 2020, some leading EU energy and climate policies will expire. At present, the EU and its Member States are discussing the design of apost-2020 policy portfolio regarding greenhouse gas emissions and low-carbon energy. The central question is: which portfolio provides the most cost-efficient pathways towards a low-carbon energy system by 2050? This paper addresses the need and necessity of an EU-wide renewable energy target for 2030. It analyses the two most viable portfolio options for renewable energy, target-setting in particular: one ‘decarbonisation-only’ EU target with voluntary national targets for renewable energy, and one that includes an EU-wide renewable energy target, broken down into binding national targets. The analysis shows that the latter option, when supported by appropriate and improved EU and Member States’ policies and measures, is most suitable in facilitating a European low-carbon economy while keeping energy costs for industry and society at sustainable levels.”

Dr. David Toke writes: “Indeed much of the logic behind this position is fairly obvious. Solar pv prices have tumbled in recent years because of the creation of larger and larger markets around the world. It has been estimated that for every doubling of production of pv cells there will be a 20 per cent costs reduction, and this theory seems to be borne out by the evidence.”

Yes, research has concluded that Wright’s Law and Moore’s Law hold up very well for solar cells, that solar becomes considerably cheaper and more efficient as more solar PV technology is produced and as time goes on. And it’s a similar situation with wind, btw.

All in all, a post-2020 renewable energy target (or renewable energy targets, since individual country targets will need to be adopted) is long overdue. It is cheaper than other viable targets and is a clear win for Europe and the world. It’d really be nice if Europe stepped up and filled the green shoes it is supposedly wearing. Yet another study shows it’s a good, cheap option.