Issues and options with regard to the renewables target in the context of the 2030 EU Climate and Energy Package

Issues and options with regard to the renewables target in the context of the 2030 EU Climate and Energy Package / Thomas Spencer, Michel Colombier & Teresa Ribera. Paris : IDDRI, janvier 2014, 13 p. (Policy Brief n°4/2014)

Key points (© IDDRI) :

Renewables – a contested success story of the 2008 package

The renewables target in the current package has leveraged significant growth in renewables. The share of renewables in final energy consumption increased from 9.7% in 2007 to 13% in 2011; in electricity from 15.8% to 21.7%. Unit costs have fallen as well. However, the renewables targets have also generated significant conflict. The synthetic indicator used to distribute EU targets (GDP/capita) has meant that some Member States must make significant efforts, in the final analysis possibly in excess of their economic potential and preferences. Top-down targets have unleashed policy innovation and capacity expansion in Member States; but in some cases effective appropriation in Member States’ policy approaches has lagged behind.

Why do we need a fraemwork for renewables in the future package ?

Nonetheless, there are still strong arguments for a framework for renewables in the future package. Firstly, these technologies will be vital to any long-term, decarbonisation scenario. Secondly, there are still significant cost cuts that must be achieved in many renewables technologies, via technological and systemic learning driven by controlled capacity expansion and enhanced R&D. Thirdly, coordinating policy and infrastructure planning, as well as market integration and state aid policy all require that we have a clear idea of the direction of the EU energy mix and Member State policy efforts.

Options for a renewables framework

In this context, this paper explores options to include renewables in the 2030 climate and energy package. These include binding, top-down targets, non-binding targets, and binding, bottom-up targets negotiated within an EU framework. Whatever approach is taken to the options discussed in the paper, it appears that a key role of the 2030 package should be to strengthen planning and policy processes within Member States, and in turn its integration at EU level.

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