The European Union’s ambitious plans to achieve its renewable energy targets face a potential dilemma as it becomes increasingly reliant on Chinese supplies. The EU aims to have 42.5% of its energy consumption come from renewable sources by 2030, up from the current target of 32%. However, concerns have been raised over Europe’s dependence on Chinese critical materials, such as lithium-ion batteries, solar panels, and wind turbines.
Industry associations, including WindEurope and SolarPower Europe, warn of the risks to European manufacturing and the dominance of cheaper Chinese products. Without implementing strong measures to support domestic manufacturing, there is a potential for the EU’s energy ecosystem to become dependent on China, similar to its previous reliance on Russian gas.
The EU’s demand for critical materials is projected to surge in the coming years as the bloc pushes for the rollout of renewable energy and electric vehicles. China could play a major role in these supply chains, raising concerns about unfair trade practices and distorting competition in sectors such as solar panels and electric vehicles.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has called out China for its unfair trade practices and emphasized the need for Europe to strengthen its domestic manufacturing supply chains. Industry associations also stress the importance of supporting European manufacturing to prevent the expansion of wind energy and other renewable sectors from being dominated by Chinese manufacturers.
As the EU pursues its renewable energy targets, it must carefully consider the potential risks and challenges posed by its reliance on Chinese supplies. Diversification of supply chains and support for domestic manufacturing will be crucial in maintaining Europe’s competitiveness and achieving its green energy goals.