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European Commission

MEMO

Brussels, 27 March 2013

Renewable energy progress report

What are the EU Renewable Energy targets?

The Renewable Energy Directive adopted in 2009 sets binding targets for renewable energy. It focuses on achieving a 20% share of renewable energy in the EU overall energy consumption by 2020. Every Member State has to reach individual targets for the overall share of renewable energy in energy consumption. In addition, in the transport sector, all Member States have to reach the same target of a 10% share of renewable energy.

These targets can be reached by increasing the share of energy from renewable sources, including wind power (both onshore and offshore), solar power (thermal, photovoltaic and concentrated), hydro-electric power, tidal power, geothermal energy and biomass (including biofuels and bioliquids). The renewable energy targets aim at reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, at decreasing renewable energy production costs, and at diversifying our energy supply by reducing the dependence on oil and gas.

What is the purpose of the Renewable energy progress report?

In accordance with the reporting requirements stemming from the Renewable Energy Directive, a report should be issued every two years. The purpose of this progress report is to assess Member States' progress in the promotion and use of renewable energy towards the 2020 targets. In addition, it contains sections on the sustainability scheme for biofuels and bioliquids consumed in the EU and on the economic, social, and environmental impacts of this consumption.

Where does the EU stand with regard to Renewable Energy?

The adoption of the current policy framework of legally binding targets has resulted in the strong growth of renewable energy. The latest available Eurostat data suggests that the EU and most Member States are currently on track to achieve the 2020 targets. In 2010, the EU renewable energy share was 12.7% and the majority of Member States already reached their respective 2011/2012 interim target set out by the Directive. With regard to the EU sustainability criteria, Member States' implementation of the biofuels scheme is considered too slow. At present the possible negative impacts of EU biofuels consumption do not require further specific policy intervention

Will the EU reach its 2020 targets?

While progress has been made until 2010, there are reasons for concern about future progress: the transposition of the Directive has been slower than wished, also due to the current economic crisis in Europe. Since the indicative trajectory to meet the final target grows steeper over time, in reality more efforts by most of the Member States' are needed in the forthcoming years. Current policies alone will be insufficient to trigger the required renewable energy deployment in a majority of Member States. Hence, additional efforts will be needed for Member States to stay on track in the forthcoming years.

What needs to be done in order to reach the 2020 targets?

Member States should finalise the transposition of the Renewable Energy Directive as soon as possible and should increase their efforts in addressing barriers to the uptake of renewable energy by:

  • taking measures to reduce administrative burdens and delays;

  • developing the electricity grid and better integrating renewable energy into the market;

  • making support schemes more stable and transparent but also cost-effective and market-oriented.

The Commission's planned guidance on support schemes and reform foreseen for this year is intended to ensure that such support is cost effective and helps integrate renewable energy production into the energy market.

What are the consequences for Europe if we miss the 2020 targets?

Missing the 2020 renewable energy targets will have major consequences for the EU. Firstly, a strong development of renewable energy is an important condition to move towards a low-carbon economy by 2050. In this respect, the current decade will be crucial to put Europe on the right track, since investments decisions made today will affect our energy sector for the next 30 years. Secondly, missing the targets would slow down progress towards the three EU energy policy objectives: the EU would remain highly dependent on fossil fuels, therefore threatening the "security of supply" and "sustainable energy" goals. In addition, an insufficient deployment of several renewable energy technologies would not allow for adequate reductions in production costs, therefore preventing renewable energy form contributing to the EU's competitiveness. Finally, a failure to meet national binding targets could trigger infringement procedures against the relevant Member States.

For further information: IP/13/272


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