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Better renewable energy policies could save €6bn annually

Stepping up to a next phase in policy support for renewable energy could save the EU €4 billion of policy costs a year, and if EU member states increase cooperation, another €2-3bn could be saved in annual policy costs for achieving 2020 targets.

By Kari Williamson

This is one of the conclusions Corinna Kleßmann, Managing Consultant at Ecofys Germany, draws from her PhD thesis, which is being defended at Utrecht University.

Kleßmann points out that the support of renewable energy in the EU is a patchwork of 27 different policy portfolios, guided by the EU Directive targeting a 20% share of renewable energy by 2020.

The analysis shows that the effectiveness and efficiency of renewable energy policies is still low in many European member states, but that top runner countries have gained significant experience in tailored policy design.

“The first thing in improving policies is: reducing the risks for investors,” Kleßmann says. “This is in parallel with ensuring long-term commitment and increasing the stability of the regulatory framework. These two aspects will considerably reduce policy costs. In the present circumstances of the financial crisis, this has become even more important than before.”

Countries that are lagging behind should apply elements from the successful renewable energy policies applied in top runner countries like Germany, Denmark or Sweden.

Cross-country cooperation on renewables support could occur in specific projects. The European law also allows countries to fully integrate their individual national targets and policies.

“This kind of bottom-up cooperation between member states seems more promising than a drastic harmonisation of policies by the European Commission,” Kleßmann concludes.

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