As Europe reduces its emissions and transforms its power sector out to 2030, a major expansion of electricity grid infrastructure will be needed, to capture the economic and security benefits of European market integration and to facilitate higher proportions of variable renewables.
However, provision for infrastructure is largely absent from the current 2020 climate and energy targets, and Europe’s infrastructure polices are not currently designed to deliver decarbonisation. A continued mis-alignment between Europe’s ambitions on renewables and climate and its policies on infrastructure would multiply risks for investment in both renewable and conventional plant, driving up costs and bills.
Last year E3G published a working paper setting out the case for addressing the grid infrastructure directly within the EU’s 2030 climate and energy package, including new targets for grid development. Further calls for including infrastructure within the 2030 package were made by the 13 countries of the Northern Europe Energy Dialogue, the 8 countries that signed a letter calling for renewables targets, and two influential Committees in the European Parliament.
A key question, however, is how new targets for infrastructure should be designed and implemented. Ahead of the launch of the European Commission’s white paper on the 2030 climate and energy framework, E3G has developed a new paper evaluating the key dimension to consider for infrastructure target design, and setting out 5 viable options for how a target could be structured.
While targets for infrastructure are no replacement for ambitious European targets on greenhouse gases, renewables and efficiency, they will play an important role in building confidence that those objectives can be met.