EU Commission Renewable Energy Progress Report

The EU Commission has published a report on the progress of Member States at achieving the goal of a 20 percent share of renewable energy until 2020.

Here are some highlights.

progress1

Figure 1 above shows the big picture. As of 2014, 15.3% of all EU energy consumption comes from renewable sources.

The heating and cooling sector (at 46% the largest slice of the pie) is at 17% out of a goal of 21%.

The transport sector is struggling. It is only at 6%, out of a goal of 10% until 2020.

And electricity is at 26%, with a goal of 34%.

Electricity is the smallest sector of the above, with only 24% of total energy consumption. In contrast, it gets the most attention usually. Sadly, that is true for my blog as well.

Adding up all goals for 2020 from Figure 1 above we get 243 million tons of oil equivalent of renewable energy in 2020. That’s the equivalent of 2826 TWh, which is more than world nuclear production in 2012, reported as 2461 TWh at the IEA.

progress2

Figure 2 shows progress by Member State. Most are expected to meet their goals. Some are expected to exceed it. France, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands seem to have the greatest gaps between their goals and progress until now.

The report takes a positive view on the Renewable Energy Directive. It has this to say about it:

It became the key driver for European led global investment in renewable technologies and supportive renewable energy policies far beyond Europes’ frontiers helping renewables emerge as cost-competitive energy source in the last decade in Europe and on global scale.

The Directive was enacted in 2009. That makes it impossible to have been the “key driver in the last decade”. Maybe in the last couple of years.

The key driver in the last decade was Germany’s feed-in tariff. That enabled mass production of solar panels, bringing prices down massively.

Unfortunately, the EU Commission has got away with their illegal power grab and Germany has changed the successful feed-in tariff model last year, changing it to an auction model. Ever since, the motor of this “key driver” has been braked down. As a consequence, solar deployment in Germany has gone down massively right when prices finally got so low that even more deployment makes sense even without much assistance from a feed-in tariff.

The Commission report nowhere even mentions the fact that the Competition Directorate of the EU is in the business of ordering Member States to drop their feed-in tariff models (clearly allowed by the Renewable Energy Directive) in favor of the auction model the Commission wants to push. It does not evaluate this illegal and harmful Commission policy and therefore fails to address the question if the Directive needs to be amended to shut this kind power grab down.

For example, right now Article 3, Paragraph 3 of the Directive states:

3.   In order to reach the targets set in paragraphs 1 and 2 of this Article Member States may, inter alia, apply the following measures:

(a) support schemes;

The term “support schemes;” is defined in Article 2 k) of the Directive:

‘support scheme’ means any instrument, scheme or mechanism applied by a Member State or a group of Member States, that promotes the use of energy from renewable sources by reducing the cost of that energy, increasing the price at which it can be sold, or increasing, by means of a renewable energy obligation or otherwise, the volume of such energy purchased. This includes, but is not restricted to, investment aid, tax exemptions or reductions, tax refunds, renewable energy obligation support schemes including those using green certificates, and direct price support schemes including feed-in tariffs and premium payments;

From the above it is abundantly clear that Member States may introduce or keep in place feed-in tariffs. They don’t need extra approval from the Commission.

But since the EU Commission does not respect this clear language of the Directive, maybe Article 3 Paragraph should be amended. The new language might read like this (text in bold would be the amendment):

3.   In order to reach the targets set in paragraphs 1 and 2 of this Article Member States may, inter alia, apply the following measures:

(a) support schemes. Such support schemes do not require approval by the Commission under State Aid rules. They are approved unconditionally by this Directive;

Anyway, this is good news. The EU as a whole will likely achieve the 2020 renewable energy goal of 20% market share.

The way to make progress in the transport sector clearly is to speed up the transition to electric vehicles. Battery costs will come down far enough to make substantial progress before 2020. If that happens, we may well see even more than 30 million tons of oil equivalent powering traffic in 2020.

Published by kflenz

Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo. Author of Lenz Blog (since 2003, lenzblog.com).

2 thoughts on “EU Commission Renewable Energy Progress Report

    1. Thank you. You already have that permission, since this blog is published under a Creative Commons license that only requires attribution (and leaving the content unchanged), see the About page:

      http://k.lenz.name/LB/about-2/

      But I appreciate the opportunity to thank you in advance for republishing my post.

      Like

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