Last year, renewable energy overtook fossil fuels as the largest source of electricity in the European Union. While that is a remarkable achievement, the energy transition needs to shift gears if the EU is to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 55% in 2030.
Ahead of the European Commission’s proposal to revise the Renewable Energy Directive, this online debate examines how to foster renewable energy production and innovation. A high-profile group of policymakers and key experts in the field will share their views and engage in an open discussion with the online audience.
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By way of the European Green Deal, the EU aims to become climate neutral by 2050. As the European Parliament and Council finalise a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% in 2030, a massive machine has been put in motion to make existing legislation fit that ambition. Dubbed the Fit for 55 Package, it covers a wide range of sectors – from the energy performance of buildings, land use and energy taxation to carbon pricing.
Renewable energy is also an important and ever-growing piece of the puzzle, outshining fossil fuels to become the biggest source of electricity in the EU in 2020. However, the energy transition needs to pick up speed if the EU is to hit its targets. The revision of the Renewable Energy Directive provides a chance to boost the production of renewable energy and promote its use in a growing range of innovations.
- The need for renewable electricity will only increase. What is the most important incentive the EU can give to develop capacity?
- Should the EU return to distinct renewable energy targets for every member state or should targets be EU-wide?
- What should be done to reinforce the linkages between the Renewable Energy Directive and recent initiatives, such as the Hydrogen Strategy?
Chief Operating Officer and Chief Spokesperson of Friends of Europe
Minister for Energy of Luxembourg
Executive Vice President, Corporate Secretariat, Strategy, Research & Innovation and Communication at ENGIE
Director of Green Transition and Energy System Integration at the European Commission Directorate-General for Energy (DG ENER)
Patrick ten Brink
Deputy Secretary General and Director of EU Policy at the European Environmental Bureau (EEB)
Claire Waysand is an expert on European and international economic issues and maintains a strong commitment to carbon neutrality and the development of renewable hydrogen solutions. Prior to her current role as Secretary General and Executive Vice President at ENGIE, Waysand has held several positions within the organization, including corporate secretary and acting chief executive officer. Waysand previously served the French government as the deputy director general of the Treasury and chief of staff of the Minister of Finance. She has also worked at the European level as a member of the European Economic and Financial Committee (EFC) and as the former director of the European Investment Bank (EIB).
Claude Turmes has been the Minister for Energy of Luxembourg since 2018. Within his role, he leads a pilot study that aims to determine the ecological transition of Luxembourg and achieve a zero-carbon cross-border country by 2050. Prior to joining government, Turmes was a long-standing member of the European Parliament, where he vice-chaired the parliamentary group of the Green Party. He was also the rapporteur of the directive on renewable energies, the second directive on the liberalisation of the energy market and the energy efficiency directive.
Catharina Sikow-Magny joined the European Commission in 1997 and is currently the Director responsible for Green Transition and Energy System Integration in the Directorate-General for Energy. Before that, she was the head of unit in charge of consumers, local initiatives, just transition and the head of unit responsible for networks and regional initiatives. She has worked on international transport and trans-European network policy, as well as financing, internalisation of external costs and strategic policy research. Before joining the Commission, Sikow-Magny was a team leader and chief economist in the private sector in Finland. She has also worked for the United Nations Development Programme in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
In his current role, Patrick ten Brink is responsible for the EEB’s EU Policy Unit and several horizontal dossiers, including better regulation, EU budget, fiscal reform, the environmental action programmes (EAPs) and oversight on the European Green Deal. He serves on the Management Committee of Seas at Risks and Executive Committee of the Environmental Coalition on Standards (ECOS), and is also a member of the Fit for Future Platform Stakeholder group. Prior to joining the EEB, ten Brink was director and head of green economy programme at the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP), where he contributed to passenger cars and CO2 regulation, as well as the industrial emissions directive.
Prior to joining Friends of Europe, Dharmendra Kanani was director of policy at the European Foundation Centre (EFC). He was the England director at the Big Lottery Fund, the largest independent funder in the UK and fourth largest in the world. Dharmendra has held senior positions in the public and voluntary sector and advisor to numerous ministerial policy initiatives across the UK.
- By Chris Kremidas Courtney
- Area of Expertise
- Peace, Security & Defence
- European Defence Studies
- By Paul Taylor
- By Eurisa Rukovci