European policy consultants
Rural development and renewable energy

December conclusions of the Energy Council:

In relation to the objective to achieve a share of 20% of renewable energy sources (RES), which forms part of the headline targets under the Europe 2020 Strategy, the Council noted that, according to estimates of the Commission, the EU is currently on track to achieve its renewables goals.

Council agreed that the Directive on renewable energy sources is providing certainty to investors and a stimulus up to 2020 and acknowledged that it has already resulted in a significant increase in renewable energy in the EU.

Council also agreed that a longer-term perspective would have a positive influence on investments, given the long planning process and investment horizon for renewable energy sources.

The Council takes into account the different RES development potentials of individual Member States and the need to ensure that the prices for consumers remain at an affordable level. It welcomed the the presentation by the Commission of its Communication "Renewable Energy: a major player in the European energy market" which sets out initial thinking on a post-2020 framework to maintain a robust growth of renewable energy.

1. Internal electricity market opening, including the completion of the internal energy market in electricity (and gas) by 2014, to facilitate market participation of a growing number of small and medium-sized enterprises producing renewable energy;

2. Better market integration of RES:
including a role for carbon markets, to give investors incentives to invest in safe and
sustainable low-carbon technologies;

3. Cooperation and trade:

4. Infrastructure and consumers:
The energy infrastructure package is intended to provide more effective permit granting
procedures and cost sharing rules and will be essential to facilitate better integration of
electricity from renewable energy sources such as from wind and solar energy and to
underpin a truly integrated EU electricity market.

More attention should be paid to the widely untapped potential of renewables in the
heating and cooling sector and to the interdependencies between and opportunities
arising from increased renewable energy use on the one hand and the implementation of
the Energy Efficiency and Buildings Directives on the other.

Consideration should be given to furtherd simplifications of planning and permitting processes to address permitting issues specific to renewables which constitute barriers to the development of RES, e.g. the larger number of permits compared to other energy sources of an equivalent scale.

5. Technology innovation and Sustainability:

The Commission was invited to present non-binding guidance on the further improvement
of national support schemes, and guidance on the implementation of the cooperation
mechanisms provided for in the Renewable Energy Directive;

The options presented by the Commission provide a basis for future deliberations, which need to ensure that the strong impetus provided by the current legislative framework is not lost and that the potential for growth and employment from strong RES use is fully captured;

Note: Directive 2003/87/EC on the EU Emissions Trading Scheme stipulates that the emission
factor for biomass shall be zero.