Friday

6th Dec 2019

EU says clean energy is key to ending poverty

  • Europe, as a region, leads the world in clean energy investments (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

Renewable energy in both developing and industrialised nations is essential to combating global poverty, the European Commission told reporters in Brussels on Thursday (12 April).

"Investing in access to clean energy in the poorest countries will help achieve the double goal of sustainable and inclusive growth and mitigating climate change," said EU development commissioner Andris Piebalgs, ahead of a high-level EU meeting on sustainable energy in Brussels on Monday including UN chief Ban Ki-moon

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

The lack of access to modern energy sources is perpetuating global poverty, it added. Currently, some one in five people - or 1.3 billion around the world - have no access to electricity.

Another 3 billion rely on wood and coal for cooking and heating, contributing to the depletion of forests and causing widespread respiratory illnesses.

For his part, Klaus Rudischhauser, the director of the commission's EuropeAid programme, said more renewable energy initiatives are required in both developing and industrialised countries to reduce poverty.

The United Nation's goal is to ensure that by 2030 everyone has electricity. The UN also wants to double the rate of improvement of energy efficiency and share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by the same date.

Rudischhauser explained that meeting global energy demands and helping eradicate poverty will require industrialised nations to continue to invest and promote renewable energy and energy efficiencies.

For its part, the commission spent on average €315 million every year over the past seven years to enhance the energy sector in developing countries. At the same time, the EU is aiming to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020 in its fight against climate change.

"Binding renewable energy targets that the EU set in 2009 has provided the investment security needed to develop renewables. A similar model should be adopted in developing countries," Brook Riley, climate justice and energy campaigner at the Brussels-based Friends of the Earth Europe, told EUobserver.

In February, Piebalgs said around 71 percent of all new power generation installed in the EU last year was from renewable sources.

Europe leads in clean technology investments

Meanwhile, global trends in the renewable energy sector indicate that sizeable investments are being made.

Overall, global clean energy finance and investment grew to €200 billion in 2011, a 6.5 percent increase over the previous year, according to a report released on Tuesday by the US-based Pew Clean Energy Program. A good portion of that was in the EU.

"Clean energy investment, excluding research and development, has grown by 600 percent since 2004, on the basis of effective national policies that create market certainty," said Phyllis Cuttino, director of Pew's Clean Energy Program.

More than half of all clean energy investment among members of the G-20 last year was in solar energy. The solar sector increased globally by 44 percent and attracted €97.4 billion in private investments.

As a region, Europe maintained its regional leadership position for clean energy investment, growing by a modest 4 percent to €75.59 billion. Clean energy installations in Europe surpassed the US and China combined in 2011.

Together, German and Italian investment in clean energy technology reached €44.6 billion, more than anywhere else. And both lead the world in deployment of small- distributed solar photovoltaic power installations.

Despite a slight downward trend in clean technologies investment when compared to 2010, Germany still managed to install 7.4 gigawatts (GW) of solar energy last year - the equivalent output of six nuclear power stations. Italy installed 8 GW.

Focus

Germany to cut solar energy subsidies

Germany's solar power industry could cool as Berlin plans to cut subsidies in a sector whose energy capacity output has successfully more than doubled the government’s projected target.

Europe entering age of 'aid austerity'

EU countries have been asked not to use the economic crisis to justify cutting aid, as donations drop for the first time in 14 years.

EU energy legislation faces resistance

With only a couple of weeks left in its EU presidency, Denmark is pressing lawmakers to finalise an energy saving deal to cut consumption by 20 percent by 2020.

Opinion

Clean energy package needs market, not just targets

While discussions on targets and objectives are important, the focus must not be on the percentage, but rather on delivering fundamental market reforms in order to reach targets in place.

Timmermans warns on cost of inaction on climate

The Green Deal commissioner, Frans Timmermans, said the costs of inaction in climate policy are "tremendously high". However, it is still unclear if member states will unanimously agree on the EU's 2050 climate-neutrality goal at next week's summit.

EU agency: 'Europe will not meet 2030 climate goals'

The European Environmental Agency's latest report predicts that Europe will not achieve its 2030 climate and energy targets "without urgent action during the next 10 years". As a result, the social systems of production and consumption must be transformed.

Focus

Thunberg rejects climate prize in hometown Stockholm

The Nordic Council's prestigious annual awards ceremony this year turned into a youth revolt, with climate activist Greta Thunberg declining the environment prize and another winner criticising the Danish prime minister for racism.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  5. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture

Latest News

  1. Migrants paying to get detained in Libyan centres
  2. Searching for solidarity in EU asylum policy
  3. Will Michel lead on lobbying transparency at Council?
  4. Blood from stone: What did British PR firm do for Malta?
  5. EU Commission defends Eurobarometer methodology
  6. Timmermans warns on cost of inaction on climate
  7. Development to fuel change
  8. Does EU have role in stopping backsliding in Georgia?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  2. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  3. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  5. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us