A strategic framework for the development of renewables
Over the last decade, European policies have been a key driver
for the deployment of renewable energies and of PV in particular. The
urgent need to avoid irreversible climate change effects while ensuring
European competitiveness and security of energy supply has led to more a
coherent, structured energy policy at EU level.
A major step forward was taken in 2009 with the adoption of the Renewable Energy Directive
(2009/28/EC). This ground-breaking regulatory framework aims to cover 20% of the European growth in final energy consumption by renewable sources by 2020
It established for each Member State a specific, legally binding target
– leaving each country free to define its own renewable energy mix. In
addition, several types of “cooperation mechanisms” (statistical
transfers, joints projects – potentially with third countries – and
joint support schemes) have been created, providing the Member States
with the necessary flexibility to achieve their targets on a
Aside from the target-setting, the Directive also created several provisions to facilitate the development of renewables: simplification of administrative procedures, improved access to the grids and promotion of the qualification and certification of installers
This regulatory framework has sparked the development of renewable electricity
which today represents more than 20% of the electricity generation in
the EU 27. This share will rise to at least 34% once the 2020 targets
The National Renewable Energy Action Plans: a much higher potential for PV
Within the framework of the Directive, each Member State has to develop a National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP), detailing how it will reach its target. These plans should show whether a Member State is “on track” or not.
When it comes to PV, however, an analysis of the 27 NREAPs
reveals that Member States have greatly underestimated the contribution
of solar electricity. Already today, six Member States have reached
their 2020 target for PV, and seven others are expected to reach it by
2015. According to EPIA scenarios, the potential for 2020 is at least
twice as high as the levels foreseen in the NREAPs, around 200 GW
capacities or even more in Europe by 2020.
Potential adjustments to the NREAPs will therefore have to
consider updated figures so as to properly acknowledge the future
contribution of PV in the European energy mix by 2020.
For more information about the progress towards reaching the 2020 targets, please see the Keep-on-track! Project developed by the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC).