Renewable energy: a more European approach is needed – Report by the European Parliament

Stitched Panorama

The need for a more integrated system at EU level for promoting renewables, the issue of adopting new targets for the period after 2020 and possible solutions that could help boost investments were highlighted in the non-binding resolution on renewable energy, adopted today by the Energy Committee of the European Parliament.

“The report gives a realistic overview about the challenges ahead for renewable energies, but also the opportunities they bring. We all expect the share of renewables to grow, but we will only be able to accommodate such growth if the required infrastructures are in place. Intermittent renewables need not only flexible back-up and energy storage, but also a modernisation of the existing grid-infrastructure. That is quite expensive, so we should do everything we can to bring costs of renewables down. Our current arrangement with a wide variety of different support mechanisms is certainly not ideal, especially with regard to the internal energy market. In the future we should find a more European approach. The enormous potentials of the different Member States have to be used!”, said the rapporteur Herbert Reul (EPP, DE).

Towards an integrated EU wide support mechanism

As a result of disparities between national market features, different potentials, as well as different stages of technology patterns and maturity, a wide variety of different schemes for promoting renewables currently coexist in the EU, says the text. This variety creates problems such as inefficiencies in cross-border electricity trading. MEPs stress that a more integrated system at the EU level could help to provide a more cost-effective framework and they ask the Commission to assess the potential of an EU-wide mechanism for promoting renewables.

A new target for 2030?

Members of the Energy Committee suggest that targets and milestones should be set for the period to 2050, and given Commission’s assumption that renewables will have a share of more than 30% in the EU’s energy mix, MEPs suggest that the EU should try to achieve an even higher share, while asking the Commission to assess the costs and benefits of introducing a mandatory EU-wide target for renewables for 2030. An amendment calling for a “binding target of 40-45% for 2030″ was rejected with 18 votes in favour to 31 against.

Promoting investments

Access to capital for investments is a crucial factor in the further deployment of renewables whilst there is an increasing need for a stable policy framework to provide economic guarantees concerning the availability of reserve capacity mechanisms  as well as for system and balancing services, says the text. Energy Committee members call on the Commission to take action to remedy obstacles to trade to help EU companies to access non-EU markets and highlight the need to facilitate a competitive environment for the operations and internationalisation of SMEs.

The non-legislative resolution was adopted with 49 votes in favour, 7 against and 1 abstention.