EU on Track to Achieve Renewable Target

Renewable energy supplies fulfilled 16% of the European Union's final energy demand in 2014 and an estimated share of close to 16.4% in 2015. The EU as a whole is therefore well on track to reach its 20% target by 2020, the European Commission said February 2, with the caveat that investment had tailed off lately.

EU countries will have to keep up their efforts in order to reach their national goals and, while costs have come down to the extent that they can even be cheaper than fossil fuels, consumers have yet to feel the benefit, it says. At a wholesale level, it said, "the more we use renewables, the cheaper electricity will become. Every percentage increase in renewables' share of the market will decrease the market price by €0.4/MWh."

However, at a domestic level, the share of EU taxes and levies used to support renewable energy and combined heat and power (CHP) has steadily risen. The share of renewables and CHP support costs ranged from 0% to 23% of the retail electricity price in 2015, depending on the country.

It also said that renewable energy should be seen as an investment, rather than an expense, since it reimburses the upfront costs of installation with operation and maintenance expenditure that is usually substantially lower than that of fossil alternatives.

Moreover, once the technology has been installed, renewables such as wind and solar remain available virtually free of charge.

Vestas wind turbine, 3 MW (Credit: Vestas)

European investments have dropped by more than half since 2011 to €44bn in 2016, it also said, and new sources of investments need to be unlocked to reach the €379bn of investment needed on an annual basis to achieve the EU's climate and energy target.

 

William Powell

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