It is a matter of weeks before the European parliament starts delving into the new EU renewable energy directive proposed in November by the European Commission. The outlook is good, but there are pitfalls that could derail developments.
The debate occurs in a completely different context than 2008, when the first version of the directive was developed. In 2008 the industry was still nascent, prices were high and interest from consumers was relatively low. Everything has changed since then. Wind generation has doubled, from 150 TWh hours in 2010 to 306 TWh hours in 2016. Solar generation has jumped from 23 to 114 TWh. According to a report by Sandbag and Agora Energiewende (link is external) on the state of the European power sector, in 2016 solar installations hit the landmark of 100 GW, despite a lower growth than 2015. Wind kept installing 10-12 GW annually, with offshore investment on the rise.
Prices are also declining rapidly: offshore wind’s has more than halved in 2016 and prices of German solar auctions fell by 14 %, says the study. Although some EU countries (Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom) need to accelerate on their commitments, the EU Commission is also confident that the EU will reach its 20 % renewables target by 2020.
So it would seem relatively straightforward to hit the new objective of 27 % by 2030. But there are some pitfalls on the way…
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