Support regimes for renewable energy sources in EU Member States are currently as diverse as the Member States themselves. The possibility of harmonising them has been under discussion among EU policy makers for years, especially regarding renewable electricity.
The current European energy and climate policy framework centres on the “20-20-20” headline targets to be achieved by 2020: A reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 20% compared to 1990 levels; a share of 20% renewables in gross final energy consumption; and a 20% improvement in energy efficiency. Directive 2009/28/EC, also known as the Renewables Directive, splits the 20% RES target up into individual 2020 targets for each Member State. It does not, however, specify which instruments shall be used to ensure target achievement. As a result, a variety of support regimes for renewable energy sources have been developed in EU Member States, ranging from feed-in laws to tradable certificate schemes, and from investment grants to tax deductions. For the period after 2020, harmonisation, meaning the top-down implementation of a common support scheme throughout the EU, could be realised in a variety of ways.
Against this background, the main objectives of the beyond2020 project were:
- to look more closely beyond 2020 by designing and evaluating feasible pathways of a (non-)harmonised European policy framework for supporting an enhanced exploitation of renewable electricity in particular, and renewable energy sources in general
- to provide guidance on improving policy design
- to provide the scientific knowledge base for the design, evaluation and implementation of policy proposals for the (non-)harmonisation of RES support in Europe
Strategically, the project aimed to contribute to:
- the forming of a European vision of a joint future RES policy framework in the mid- to long-term
- a smooth transition from the present to a future climate and energy framework
- to assure investor's confidence on the long-term perspectives for renewables in general, and renewable electricity in particular, by establishing the process for the formulation of the post-2020 RES policy framework well in time