The EU Renewables Directive, for the first time, set a legally binding renewable energy target for the EU: a 20% share of renewables in final energy consumption by 2020. Each Member State was apportioned an individual 2020 target by the Commission for renewable energy as a proportion of final energy consumption. They were also directed to produce a National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP) offering detailed information on their concrete polices for reaching these targets.
Given that investment made today in the energy sector will have huge implications for the coming decades, if we are to make the fundamental changes required to tackle climate change, the policy decisions we make over the next 10 years will be key. In addition to this, many experts are of the opinion that in order for the EU to make the transition to a low carbon economy, it will have to make far greater use of the potential benefits from European cooperation.
This publication therefore undertakes a rigorous analysis the NREAPs with two key questions in mind: do the Member States take into consideration the long term goal of 100% electricity from renewables, and do they expect to make use of European cooperation methods? The analysis demonstrates the great variety that exists between Member States on renewable energy policy, both in terms of ambition, method, and the likelihood of achieving the legally binding targets.