Spain & Germany forecast to be renewable powerhouses of Europe

by Search Gate staff. Published Sun 14 Mar 2010 19:30, Last updated: 2010-03-14
Forecasts show EU on track to meet 20% target

The EU will surpass its target to consume 20 per cent of its energy from renewable energy by 2020, according to national forecasts submitted to the European Commission.

In its report summary, the Commission finds that the EU will reach an overall share of 20.3 per cent renewables, with Spain and Germany topping the green energy league producing the largest amounts of surplus renewable power.

According to the forecasts, the UK will fall well behind its interim renewable obligations until 2017 but has produced figures to show it will still be on track to meet the 2020 compulsory deadline.

The summary found that 10 out of 27 EU Member States are likely to exceed their national targets for renewable energy, with a further 12 set to meet their goals domestically. Only five Member States are currently expected not to meet their target with domestic sources only.

Key findings from the reports include:

* At least ten Member States expect to have a surplus in 2020 compared to their binding target for the share of renewable energy in their final energy consumption. This surplus could be available to transfer to another Member State. The quantity is estimated at around 5.5 Mtoe, or around 2% of the total renewables needed in 2020. Spain and Germany forecast the largest surpluses in absolute terms, with 2.7 Mtoe and 1.4 Mtoe respectively.

* Five Member States (Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg and Malta) expect to have a deficit in 2020 compared to their binding target for the share of renewable energy in their final energy consumption. These Member States will require transfers from another Member State or third country, through the use of the Directive's cooperation mechanisms. The quantity amounts to around 2 Mtoe (<1% of the total renewable energy needed in 2020). Italy forecasts the largest deficit in absolute terms, of 1.2 Mtoe.

* The net result of Member States' forecasts for 2020 renewable energy consumption is that the EU should exceed its 20% target by over 0.3 percentage points.

* The comparatively small quantity of energy expected to be subject to the cooperation mechanisms reflects most Member States' ability to develop domestic resources cost effectively and their desire to reap the economic social and environmental benefits of developing renewable energy sources nationally. However it remains the case that the cooperation mechanisms created by the Directive are available should Member States wish to make further use of them and achieve their targets even more cost effectively.

* A total of 13 Member States also expect to exceed the interim targets that result from the trajectory contained in the Directive and thus have a surplus in the years before 2020. Three Member States anticipate a deficit during this period. Thus Member States may also use the cooperation mechanisms to meet their trajectory in the years before 2020.

* Many Member States point out that these trajectories and targets require strong, new national energy efficiency and infrastructure measures.

Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner responsible for Energy said: "These forecasts show that Member States take renewable energy very seriously and are really dedicated to push their domestic production. It is an important milestone in the achievement of the goals set in the Europe 2020 Strategy.

“This is a very positive sign for the environment, as it will help us to cut CO2 emissions and at the same time enhance our energy security. It is also a very positive message for our economy and our companies.

“It is an incentive to invest in green technology and the production of renewable energy. Our task will be to help all Member States not only to reach the 20 per cent target but to go beyond".

Portugal and Sweden expect to have the highest shares of renewable electricity in 2020, of 58% and 62% respectively. Ireland and Sweden also expect to exceed the 10% target for renewable energy in the transport sector, with 11% and 13.8% respectively.

Whilst eleven Member States, if they consider using cooperation mechanisms, focus on joint projects, seven also express an interest in using the statistical transfers instrument.

These are of course preliminary views, as Member States continue to determine the simplest administrative and legal instruments for undertaking such transfers. In some cases, Member States indicate they may use statistical transfers within the EU and Joint Projects with third countries.

Four Member States (France, Greece, Italy, and Spain) note specifically that they may use cooperation mechanisms to develop renewable energy in third countries (either in the context of the Mediterranean Solar Plan or in the western Balkan countries).

Italy is the only country anticipating a relatively large deficit in reaching its 2020 target although it intends to meet the deficit through joint projects with third countries. It mentions developing plants and connections with Switzerland, Albania, Montenegro and Tunisia.

Some Member States identify particular technologies where cooperation mechanisms might be used, either as part of their forecast development, or in addition. These include offshore wind (Germany, Estonia and Ireland), hydro (Romania and Bulgaria) and biomass (Latvia).

Several Member States have also confirmed that the development of their renewable energy sources, either to meet their targets or to take part in the use of cooperation mechanisms under the Directive, requires new infrastructure. This highlights that interconnector needs and the general need to reinforce the capacity of the grid in many countries of the Union is a necessary precursor, also for achieving the targets.

For the EU overall, the share of electricity from renewable energy sources is expected to reach 33%- 35%, accentuating the need to improve the electricity grid's ability to manage and balance electricity flows and to improve the interconnections of the European grid to improve stability.

The Renewable Energy Directive sets individual national targets according to Member States' capacity to increase their share of renewables. The Directive asked Member States to deliver a report, explaining whether they expect to achieve their targets from domestic renewable energy sources, whether they expect to exceed their targets and have a "surplus" to offer to other Member States through the use of the "cooperation mechanisms" contained in the Directive, or whether they expect to need to "import" renewable energy statistically using the cooperation mechanisms to meet their targets.

The Directive sets an overall EU target of 20% renewables of total energy consumption by 2020 and individual binding national targets. Renewables include biofuels, biomass, wind, solar energy as well as hydro power. The renewable share in 2007 was 9%. Approximately 63% of this is derived from biomass and biowaste.

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