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Europe sets new targets for green energy production

9 June 2021

The European Parliament is pressing ahead with its European Green Deal, aiming to eliminate carbon emissions by 2050.

The Bloc will update its Renewable Energy Directive, aiming to generate 32% of its power renewably by 2030 with the shift to low-carbon energy (LCE) a crucial part of addressing the challenges of the climate crisis.

Last month Germany and Norway officially opened NordLink a direct power cable between the two countries that will provide Europe's largest economy with green energy at a time it is phasing out polluting coal power. "NordLink is not just a bilateral German-Norwegian project, but we are also setting a milestone for a modern energy supply in all of Europe," said German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

With established energy sectors including coal, gas and oil under constant pressure, the new technologies are increasingly taking centre stage led by solar, wind, carbon capture and storage and green hydrogen. As the power grid gets smarter, advances in artificial intelligence to find solutions to complex new operations are also attracting attention.

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New annual additions of renewable power capacity worldwide will increase to a record level of almost 200GW, driven by China and the US, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA). Renewables will account for almost 90% of the increase in total global power capacity this year led by wind, hydropower and solar photovoltaics, the report found.

In 2021 the report forecasts India and the EU will be the “driving forces” behind a record expansion of global renewable capacity additions of nearly 10%, the fastest growth since 2015. Total wind and solar PV capacity is on course to surpass natural gas in 2023 and coal in 2024. Annual offshore wind additions are set to surge, accounting for one-fifth of the total wind market in 2025.

The European Patent Office (EPO) and the IEA have issued their second report into the growth of the technologies needed to support the transition to greener types of energy. Between 2010 and 2019, Europe was responsible for 28% of all international patent families (IPFs) and has consistently been the world leader in LCE-related patents. According to the report, Europe ranks “first in most renewable energy fields”.

The impact of the worldwide pandemic has affected the sector but Dr Fatih Birol, IEA executive director says: "The rebound in energy investment is a welcome sign, but much greater resources have to be mobilised and directed to clean energy technologies to put the world on track to reach net-zero emissions by 2050"

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