The key to true energy security lies in renewable energy produced at home here in Europe, Miguel Arias Cañete, Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, said at the 'EU leading on renewable energy policy' conference in Brussels on 17 March.
"For years we have talked about energy security in terms of secure external suppliers and secure routes for fossil fuels – this is important but only half of the story. The secret to true energy security lies closer to home: clean, locally-produced renewable energy," Arias Cañete said.
"By being pioneers and leading in the deployment of renewable energy, we create more jobs and growth here in Europe, protect the climate and cut our energy imports. I look forward to discussing with you how to make this happen," Arias Cañete said at the opening of the conference.
With its targets for a 20% share of renewable energy by 2020, rising to at least 27% by 2030, the EU is a world leader in promoting the use of renewables. Such forward-looking policies have successfully triggered a profound transformation of the European energy sector – renewable energy is now mainstream, the sector employs over 1 million people and it has a turnover of €130 billion. By the end of 2014, the projected share of renewables was over 15%, showing that the continent is well on track to reaching its ambitious targets. Europe has set the standard for the rest of the world and shown that it is possible to cut carbon emissions from energy.
However, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has called for a further strengthening of renewable energy in Europe. "This is not only a matter of a responsible climate change policy. It is, at the same time, an industrial policy imperative if we still want to have affordable energy at our disposal in the medium term," Juncker said.
Renewables are also a vital part of the future Energy Union – the EU's plan to bring secure, affordable and sustainable energy to Europe's citizens.
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Read Arias Cañete's speech