The EU needs to increase solar and wind generation to reach renewable goals

renewable goals

The European Union needs to take significant action to generate more electricity from wind and solar power and meet its targets for renewable energy, according to a new report by the European Court of Auditors.

According to auditors, both wind and solar power have recorded strong growth since 2005, there has been a slowdown since 2014.

Greater commitment

The Commission should urge Member States to support further deployment. Possible actions include organizing auctions to allocate additional renewables capacity and promoting citizen participation.

At the same time, the auditors warn that Member States will face a significant challenge in trying to meet their 2020 renewables targets.

“Member States incentivized investment in wind and solar power, but the way they reduced support deterred potential investors and slowed deployment,” said George Pufan, the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the report. “The slowdown in shifting towards renewable electricity implies that we might not meet the EU 2020 target.”

Objetivos de energías renovables

Renewable power targets for 2020

The EU aims to generate a fifth of its energy from renewables for electricity, heating and cooling and transport use by the end of 2020.

Indeed, between 2005 and 2017, the generation of electricity from renewables in the EU doubled. It went from around 15 % to almost 31 %.

The wind and solar photovoltaic power sectors currently make up the largest share of renewable electricity, and falling costs make them an increasingly competitive alternative to burning fossil fuels.

The auditors assessed the progress made by the EU and Member States towards the renewables targets. They went to Germany, Greece, Spain, and Poland to examine whether financial support for electricity generation from wind and solar power had been effective. The auditors found that initial support schemes had been over-subsidized in a number of cases, resulting in higher electricity prices or increased state deficits.

In 2014, when Member States eventually reduced support to lighten the burden on consumers and national budgets, investor confidence was dampened and the market slowed down.

Challenges to overcome

Eleven EU countries have already met their climate goals. However, it is unlikely that the Netherlands, Ireland, United Kingdom, Luxemburg, and Poland will meet their individual target by 2020, according to the TCE report.

Every one of these members should increase renewable dependence by 4% from 2017 levels.

Other eight EU members, including Germany and Spain, must also accelerate their transition to renewable energies in order to reach their goals, the document adds.

There is a possibility that the member states will not achieve their national goals. This would threaten EU’s target to obtain 32% of their energy from renewable sources by 2030.

Ten EU members have already achieved their goals for 2020, including Switzerland, with the highest compliance percentage at 54.5%. On the other hand, Luxemburg and the Netherlands have the lowest compliance with 6.4% and 6.6%, respectively.

Risks for the renewable goals

France is one of six EU countries that will probably not reach its renewable goals by 2020. This threatens the EU’s 20% goal, the Bloc’s auditors say.

The nation is lagging behind in its attempt to have renewables account for 23% of its energy mix by 2020, the report from the European Court of Auditors revealed.

16.3% of the energy consumed in France in 2017 came from renewable sources, up by just 0.5 percentage points from 2005.

Recommendations

According to the auditors, current regulations do not guarantee timely reports on the progress made with renewables. The Commission lacks a way to approach the slowdown in the shift to renewables.

According to their assessment, without binding national targets, it will be difficult to achieve the renewable goals of at least 32% by 2030.

They also warn that reaching this goal will require considerable public and private financing, in addition to EU resources.

To improve the situation, they make the following suggestions:

  • Focusing on offsetting the shortcomings that difficult reaching the 2020 goals.
  • Simplifying the procedures and improving the timeliness of statistics.
  • Planning enough tenders and encouraging investment in network infrastructure.
  • Ensuring improved monitoring.

For more information, check Energía16

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