EU Commission should improve conditions for the development of solar and wind power

The EU needs »substantial efforts« to generate more electricity from wind and solar energy and to meet its renewable energy targets, according to a special report published by the European Court of Auditors (08/2019). From 2005 onwards, both wind power and photovoltaics recorded considerable growth rates and the share of electricity generated from renewable energies in the EU doubled between 2005 and 2017 from around 15 percent to just under 31 percent. However, growth has slowed since 2014, according to the auditors.
With a share of renewable energies in final energy consumption of 17.5 percent (as of 2017), the EU is »well on the way« to achieving the 2020 target of 20 percent. However, half of the member states will have »great difficulty« in achieving their targets for renewable energies for 2020. The Commission should »encourage Member States to support further expansion« - for example through auctions, more public participation and by improving the conditions for expansion.
By the end of 2020, the EU aims to generate one fifth of the energy needed in the electricity, heating and cooling and transport sectors from renewable sources. The auditors examined how the EU and the Member States have made progress towards achieving the targets set for renewable energies. In Germany, Greece, Spain and Poland, they explicitly examined whether the promotion of electricity generation from wind energy and photovoltaics was effective.
The auditors found that some of the original support schemes provided too high subsidies, resulting in higher electricity prices or budget deficits. When Member States finally reduced subsidies after 2014 to relieve consumers and national budgets, »this measure shook investor confidence and the market collapsed,« the report said. »Member States provided incentives for investment in wind energy and photovoltaics, but their approach to reducing subsidies discouraged potential investors and slowed expansion,« explained George Pufan, Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the report. »This slowdown in the transition to renewable electricity may fail to meet the EU 2020 target.«

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