EU renewables target on track but needs €200 billion more

In the commission’s Energy Challenges and Policy report to the European Council, the two recalcitrant member states are pinpointed as the only ones among the EU’s 27 that are more than 2% shy of their renewables generation targets.

On the other side of the coin, solar pioneers Germany, Italy and Spain are more than 2% ahead of the interim target – which was based on a progress report on March 27 – and are joined by Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Lithuania, Romania, Sweden and Slovenia.

That leaves Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Greece, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and the UK somewhere in between, in the ‘can do better’ bracket, which also encompasses the political bloc as a whole.

Despite the positive outlook, the EC report notes investment in renewables plunged 25% in the first three months of 2013 and ground to a halt in Spain, Italy and France.

The EC report calls for closer integration of energy markets among member states claiming that converging renewables support schemes into a single European market could save €8 billion (US$10.35 billion) by 2020 and that integrating EU electricity grids could save up to €35 billion annually up to that point.

The report also calls for a €200 billion investment in transmission lines, interconnectors and storage by 2020 with the twin aims of installing the infrastructure necessary to link renewables generators with customers and of removing the continent’s ‘energy islands’, regions where a lack of infrastructure means an overreliance on a single or small number of energy providers.

The EC report notes that such a €200 billion investment up to 2020 would require a 50% increase in the amount invested in energy infrastructure from 2000 to 2010.