Promotion of renewable energy sources in the EU: EU policies and Member State approaches

In-Depth Analysis 07-06-2016

This paper analyses the development of renewable energy sources (RES) in the EU, with a focus on support mechanisms at the EU and Member State level, including current and upcoming reforms. It presents the principal support mechanisms for RES, as well as developments in selected Member States, outlines the main technical and regulatory challenges associated with an increasing share of renewable energy and highlights the involvement and positions of the European Parliament. The development of renewable energy sources (RES) is a priority for the European Union. One of the goals of the EU Energy Union strategy is making the EU the world leader in renewable energies. The Renewable Energy Directive sets national targets for all Member States, which remain free to decide how they support RES within the EU energy market rules. The Commission plans to revise the Renewable Energy Directive and other RES-related legislation in 2016. Renewables have a growing share in energy consumption in the EU. However, RES investments in Europe have fallen in recent years due to regulatory changes, economic slowdown and falling technology costs. The development of RES poses a number of technical and regulatory challenges, notably their integration into electricity grids and the sustainability of biofuels, and requires a market design that encourages investment while keeping costs under control. The European Parliament supports the growth of RES in the EU and has called for more ambitious targets. Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy is currently working on own-initiative reports on energy market design and on the renewable energy progress report.