European policy consultants
Rural development and renewable energy

Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council (3rd December 2012)

The objective of achieving a binding target of a 20 % of renewable energies in overall EU energy consumption by 2020, set by the European Council in 2007, is one of the headline targets in the Europe 2020 strategy for jobs and growth.

Building on the Commission communication on the same subject, adopted on 6 June 2012 (11052/12), these conclusions set out lines for future action on which to base further work in support of renewables, including:
- internal electricity market opening, better market integration of renewable energy, cooperation and trade, infrastructure and consumers,
- technology innovation and sustainability, and
- next steps towards a post-2020 policy framework on renewables.

The conclusions also stress that directive 2009/28/EC on renewable energy sources is providing certainty to investors and will provide a stimulus up to 2020.

The Commission communication explains how renewable energy is being integrated in the single market. It gives some guidance on the current framework up to 2020 and outlines possible policy options for ensuring continuity and stability post-2020, thereby enabling Europe's renewable energy production to continue to grow up to 2030 and beyond.

On 6 June 2012, the Commission presented its Communication, together with an Impact Assessment.

The Communication explains how renewable energy is being integrated into the single market, and aims to give some guidance on the current framework until 2020 and to outline possible policy options for beyond 2020, in order to ensure continuity and stability and thus to enable Europe's renewable energy production to continue to grow to 2030 and beyond.

At the informal meeting of Energy Ministers held on 17 September, Ministers had an opportunity to discuss the main areas of effort identified by the Commission.

The Cypriot Presidency had then proposed draft Council conclusions on renewable energy which considered by the Working Party on Energy at its meetings in September, October, and November 2012.

The Permanent Representatives Committee (CoReper), at its meeting on 21 November, confirmed agreement on the text, and invited the TTE Council to adopt the conclusions at its meeting on 3 December.

Extracts from the Draft Council conclusions on Renewable Energy

... according to estimates of the Commission, the EU is currently on track to achieve its renewables goals;

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

... a longer-term perspective would have a positive influence on investments, given the long planning process and investment horizon for renewable energy sources, while ensuring economic and environmental sustainability;

The Council took note of the Commission's Energy Roadmap 2050 forecasting that any of the scenarios for Europe's energy supply analysed would require a substantially higher share of renewable energy in EU gross final energy consumption beyond 2020, including in 2030;

Council took into account the different RES development potentials of individual Member States
and the necessity to ensure that the prices for consumers remain at an affordable level; and welcomed the presentation by the Commission of its Communication "Renewable Energy: a
major player in the European energy market" which provides useful perspectives for a consistent post-2020 framework to maintain a robust growth of renewable energy;

Council agreed a number of priority actions.

These included an agreement that more attention should be paid to the widely untapped potential of renewables in the heating and cooling sector; and the need to improve and simplify planning and permitting processes which constitute barriers to the development of RES, e.g. larger number of permits compared to other energy sources of an equivalent scale.