The European Union can increase the share renewables in its energy mix to 34 per cent by 2030 – double the levels of 2016 – with a net positive economic impact.

That’s the conclusion of a new a report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which was launched this week in Brussels.

Presenting the findings, IRENA’s director-general Adnan Z. Amin said that achieving higher shares of renewable energy is possible with today’s technology and would trigger additional investments of around €368bn ($452bn) until 2030 – equal to an average annual contribution of 0.3 per cent of the GDP of the EU.

The number of people employed in the renewables sector across the EU – which is currently 1.2 million – would grow significantly under a revised strategy, he added.

Raising the share of renewable energy would help reduce emissions by a further 15 per cent by 2030 – an amount equivalent to Italy’s total emissions, said Amin.

“For decades now, through ambitious long-term targets and strong policy measures, Europe has been at the forefront of global renewable energy deployment,” he said.

“With an ambitious and achievable new renewable energy strategy, the EU can deliver market certainty to investors and developers, strengthen economic activity, grow jobs, improve health and put the EU on a stronger decarbonisation pathway in line with its climate objectives.”IRENA report analyses EU renewables potential

Miguel Arias Cañete, European Commissioner for Energy and Climate Action, said the report “confirms our own assessments that the costs of renewables have come down significantly in the last couple of years, and that we need to consider these new realities in our ambition levels for the upcoming negotiations to finalise Europe’s renewable energy policies”.

The report highlights that all EU Member States have additional cost-effective renewable energy potential, noting that renewable heating and cooling options account for more than one-third of the EU’s additional renewables potential. Furthermore, all renewable transport options will be needed to realise EU’s long-term decarbonisation objectives.

To download the full report click here