The use of renewable energy has many potential benefits, including contributing to CO2 emissions reduction and decreasing dependency on fossil fuels and energy imports. The Renewable Energy Directive, adopted in 2009, sets binding targets to achieve a 20% share of renewable energy in gross final energy consumption by 2020. To reach this target, every EU Member State has to implement a national renewable action plan (NREAP) and also seek to increase financing of renewables. The legal framework for renewable energies will expire after 2020. Even though it is expected that the overall share of renewable energy will exceed the 20% target, there are concerns that the growth will halt without a suitable framework beyond 2020.
Following on from the wider long-term policy visions in the Energy Roadmap 2050, the Commission published its communication on renewable energy beyond 2020 on the 6 June 2012. It outlines several renewable policy options and emphasises the importance of integration of renewables into the energy market. Main points in the Communication include the calling for a more coordinated European approach on establishment/reform of renewable energy support schemes, as well as encouraging energy trading amongst EU Member States.
The importance of milestones for 2030 is also stressed in the Communication. A solid framework beyond 2020 would encourage investment in renewable energy and give potential investors regulatory certainty. There is an on-going debate over whether the development of renewables should be encouraged by imposing binding targets, as supported by many environmental groups and the renewables industry, or through the emissions trading scheme, as favoured by for example the electricity generation industry.
Overviews / news items
Renewable energy: a major player in the European energy market / DG Energy website
– roadmap, October 2011
EP parliamentary questions; renewable energy
Renewable energy beyond 2020 / Centrum für Europäische Politik (CEP) , 2012, 4 p.
CEP policy brief on European and international renewable energy policy beyond 2020 (relating to COM(2012)271 – Renewable Energy: a major player in the European energy market).
Renewables 2012 global status report / REN21, 2012
The REN21 report is a unique overview of the status of renewable energy worldwide, covering markets, investment, industries, policies, and rural (off-grid) renewable energy in developing countries.
Global trends in renewable energy investment 2012 / United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) ; Bloomberg New Energy Finance, 2012
This is the fifth edition of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report. Based on data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, it has become the standard reference for global clean energy investment figures.
Renewables information 2012 / International Energy Agency (IEA), 2012
This report provides a comprehensive review of historical and current market trends in OECD countries, including 2011 preliminary data.
The state of renewable energies in Europe = état des énergies renouvelables en Europe 2011 / EurObserv’ER, 2012
This publication provides a concise overview of the latest renewable energy market statistics. Its last part focuses on seven EU regions which have attracted a particularly high amount of RES investments during the last year and highlights how these regions have managed to create a favourable climate for new investments.
Analysis – general
RE-shaping: shaping an effective and efficient European renewable energy market / Ragwitz, Mario ; Fraunhofer ISI ; Ecofys, 2012
The EU project ‘RE-Shaping’ assists Member State governments in implementing the Renewable Energy Directive and guides a European policy for energy from renewable sources (RES) until and beyond 2020. This report served as input for the recently published Renewables Strategy of the European Commission.
Green energy – green business: new financial and policy instruments for sustainable growth in the EU / Duero, Arash ; Kopp, Sandu-Daniel. EUCERS (European Centre for Energy and Resource Security), 2012
This study examines the current state of renewable energy in the European Union. It outlines the evolution of the EU’s renewable energy policy, assesses the current status of renewables within Europe’s transformation toward a green economy, analyses the challenges that the Union currently faces in this effort and, finally, formulates policy implications.
EU 2020 renewable energy goals insufficient / Dupont, Claire ; Institute for European Studies (IES), 2012
This paper highlights that renewable energy policies to 2020 are insufficient to meet the EU’s long-term climate policy objectives of reducing GHG emissions by between 80 and 95% by 2050, and thereby aiming to avoid an increase in global temperatures of more than 2°C.
Renewable energy policy EU country profiles: 2011 version / Ecofys ; Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI) ; Energy Economics Group (EEG) , 2011
This report is an update of the country profiles that ECOFYS has produced since 2004. They contain detailed information about policies applied in the electricity, heat and transport sector as well as deployment and potential data. The core objective of the project is to assist Member State governments in implementing the Renewable Energy Directive and to guide a European policy for RES in the mid- to long-term.
Analysis – internal market / support schemes / financing
Renewables and the EU internal electricity market: the case for an arranged marriage / Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), 2012, 9 p.
This CEPS policy brief argues that pursuing the renewables objective could contribute to the completion of the internal electricity market, help to overcome opposition to transmission projects and decrease the market power of incumbents.
How to create a single European electricity market – and subsidise renewables / Buchan, David ; Centre for European Reform (CER) , 2012
Renewable energy needs subsidy. But different national subsidy schemes threaten energy integration. Schemes should be harmonised, even if the amount of subsidy continues to differ.
RE-SHAPING: shaping an effective and efficient European renewable energy market: indicators assessing the performance of renewable energy support policies in 27 Member States: 2011 update / Fraunhofer ISI ; Ecofys , 2011
This report assesses EU Member States renewable support policies and the performance in promoting renewable energy technologies (RET) during recent years.
– RES LEGAL: database containing information and the most important legislation on the support schemes for electricity from renewable sources and grid issues within the EU 27.
Financing renewable energy in the European energy market / Ecofys [et al] ; DG Energy, January 2011
This report provides an up to date and thorough assessment of the costs of renewable energy and the support and financing instruments available for renewable energy R&D, demonstration projects and large-scale deployment. This includes details of each Member State’s expenditure (via grants, support schemes, loans etc.) and use of Community funds, including loans of EIB and EBRD. It also explores the possible instruments for use in the future and constraints in the capital market, which hinder the development of renewable energy.
Energy companies call for binding EU 2030 renewables target / Coalition of progressive European energy companies (SSE, Eneco, DONG Energy, EWE, Acciona, Sorgenia, PPC, EDP Renewables and Stadtwerke München), 5.6.2012
“Alongside strengthening the EU ETS, a binding 2030 renewables target is needed to bridge the policy gap between 2020 and 2050 and to allow the renewables industry to mature and to reach cost competitiveness. In the absence of a binding 2030 target, renewable growth is put at great risk, which will undermine the decarbonisation scenarios of the EU Energy Roadmap 2050, as well as the overarching EU 2050 carbon reduction target of 80-95%.”
Post-2020 Renewables Strategy must emphasise Europe, markets, policy coherence / Eurelectric (Union of the Electricity Industry), 5.6.2012
Welcomes the growth of renewables as an integral part of the energy market. Mature renewable energy technologies should take on the same responsibilities as other power producers, not least as regards balancing obligations and grid connection costs. The RES strategy must build on the EU Emissions Trading Scheme as the key driver for investment in low-carbon generation. Binding CO2 reduction target to incentivise low-carbon technologies is preferred, rather than binding targets for renewable energy.
European Commission sends positive signal on renewables policy for 2030 / WWF, 6.6.2012
Welcomes the communication on renewable energy and puts strong emphasis on the need for a binding RES target to create certainty for investors and create jobs.