BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A group of big technology, industry and power companies have called on the European Union to set a target for renewables of at least 35 percent when EU energy ministers meet next week.
The energy-hungry firms, including Amazon, Facebook, Google <Google LLC>, IKEA, Microsoft, Philips and Unilever, say an ambitious target would encourage their investment in multi-year wind and solar power supply contracts, known as Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs).
In a letter, the 50 big firms called on EU energy ministers to lift all regulatory barriers to PPAs, to which firms are increasingly turning to source electricity needed for energy-intensive data centers or to run heavy machinery.
The target now being discussed by EU nations is for the bloc to source at least 27 percent of its energy from renewables by 2030 - up from the 20 percent goal for green energy by 2020. The European Parliament has called for a higher target. The final law will result from negotiations between the two bodies.
"The post 2020 Renewable Energy Directive has a key role to play to unlock the potential of corporate renewable PPAs, which remains largely untapped in Europe," the firms said.
"A strong investment signal is key to further positioning industries with large investment potential in supporting Europe's clean energy goals."
As EU governments cut back on subsidies for wind power, many developers say they are turning to PPAs as a new source of revenue to get projects financed.
The letter highlights that in the last two months alone, more than a gigawatt of renewable energy capacity, mostly from wind turbines, was contracted through corporate renewable PPAs.
The new EU renewable targets are part of a set of proposals to implement the bloc's climate goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.
(Reporting by Alissa de Carbonnel; Editing by Greg Mahlich)