New EU plans announced to reach Paris Agreement targets
In order to meet the commitments laid out by the Paris Agreement, the EU has set a goal to cut emissions by 30 percent by 2030. This will be done through new incentives for smart metering and innovative design, while seeking to boost renewables and give greater power to consumers to sell any electricity they produce.
The plan outlines a new ‘Smart Finance for Smart Building’ initiative, which will allow member states to unlock an additional 10 billion euros in public and private funds until 2020, to focus on the renovation of older buildings. Modern buildings are energy efficient but it’s the older buildings that remain inefficient so it’s important to tackle this.
The building and construction sector currently accounts for 40 percent of Europe’s energy consumption so targeting energy efficiency in buildings will be crucial to achieve the necessary reductions.
The commission also re-confirmed its target of reaching at least 27 percent renewables by 2030 and, as well as this, it would also like to see a much larger share of crop-based biofuels used in transport.
Another target of the plan is to encourage individual consumers and community groups to produce their own power, although there will be a limit on the size of the community or individual power supply.
Miguel Arias Cañete, EU Climate Commissioner, said: "I'm particularly proud of the binding 30% energy efficiency target. It will reduce our dependency on energy imports, create jobs and cut emissions."
While the plans have been commended, not everyone is happy. One big issue of contention is the very lenient limiting of subsidies for fossil fuels, as some argue imposing a limit of just 550 grams of carbon dioxide per hour will not rule out newer, more efficient coal plants.
The proposals will now need to be approved by member states and the European Parliament before going ahead.
Read more: A detailed look at the Paris Agreement
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.