Fraunhofer Institute for
Systems and Innovation Research ISI

Analysis of the evolution of Renewable Energy Sources up to 2020 – “FORRES 2020”

Objective of the study

The objective of this project “FORRES 2020” is to produce an independent analysis and assessment of the implementation of renewable energy sources (RES) in the 25 Member States of the European Union and the Candidate Countries since the publication of the White Paper on renewable energy sources in 1997, and to propose a perspective for the period up to 2020. In more detail, the project provides:

  • an independent analysis of the evolution of renewable energy sources (electricity, heat and biofuels) in the 25 Member States of the European Union and Bulgaria and Romania supporting the EC in its analysis of renewable energy policies;

  • input for monitoring the progress of the targets set in the White Paper , the Directive on the promotion of electricity from renewable energy sources, and the Directive on biofuels; and

  • an insight into the future development of a green energy market in the European Union and the Candidate Countries under different policy developments up to 2020.


The FORRES 2020 project analysed the possible contribution of RES to EU energy consumption based on two main scenarios, the business-as-usual scenario and the policy scenario, which are defined as follows: 

The business-as-usual scenario (BAU) assumes that recent policies and existing barriers in the EU Member States are maintained. The policy scenario (PS) is based upon the following assumptions: for each technology, the currently implemented best practice (most effective) policy in one of the Member States is selected, additional energy efficiency efforts are assumed, a stable planning horizon is guaranteed and existing social and technical barriers can be overcome.  The key outcomes of the analysis can be summarised as follows:

  • Policy scenario: a RES share of about 34 % in the electricity sector and about 20 % in primary energy terms is feasible in 2020 for the EU-25; however, this requires immediate policy actions in most Member States.

  • BAU scenario: assuming the continuation of present policies, the RES market share reaches 23 % in the electricity sector and 11 % in terms of primary energy in 2020.

  • The growth of RES primary energy in the BAU scenario results in a CO 2 emission reduction of about 290 Mt until 2020 compared to 2001 emissions.

  • Additional emission reductions of about 350 Mt could be achieved under the policy scenario by 2020. The difference between the policy scenario and the BAU scenario corresponds to more than half of the EU-25 commitment under the Kyoto protocol in the period 1990-2010.

  • Greater energy efficiency efforts are required to achieve RES targets for 2010 and define ambitious targets for 2020.


European Commission, DG TREN


Project co-ordinator ISI; Vienna University of Technology, Institute of Power Systems and Energy Economics, Ecofys, KEMA, REC


Ragwitz M., et al. (2005), “FORRES 2020: Analysis of the renewable energy sources’ evolution up to 2020”, Final Report, DGTREN

Ragwitz M., et al.: " Analysis of the EU renewable energy sources' evolution up to 2020 (FORRES 2020)"; Report for the European Commission, Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry,  Karlsruhe 2005, ISBN 3-8167-6893-8, Fraunhofer IRB Verlag