EREF aims at assisting Europe for a major energy system change towards sustainable energy use. Renewable Electricity will be the cornerstone in this development.
When thinking about energy, what comes to the consumer's mind first is generally electricity. Potential for renewable electricity generation is great: wind, solar, geothermal, hydro, biomass… all forms of renewable sources can be used for electricity generation - and none of them has the negative impacts on the environment, climate and health as fossils or nuclear. Consequently, consumers have in the past 2-5 years increasingly accepted and supported renewable electricity. In particular, many (bigger) electricity suppliers have been confronted with a consumer demand for renewables that they themselves did not have in their portfolio. As renewable electricity generation is as a rule predominately decentralized and local, its deployment and the production of technologies brought significant economic boosts and created high quality jobs on local levels in regions and member States with a clear vision and strong targets , SMEs and new business models significantly benefit from the renewable development. The renewable energy sector - though in some Member States more than in others - has thus been a success so far. But it is crucial that we keep on track and take it one step further, if we really want to achieve the necessary changes in Europe's energy supply landscape.
Recognizing its great potential, the European Union has been quite ambitious in the renewable electricity sector: Already under the old Renewable Energy Directive, Directive 2001/77/EC and prior to the imposition of binding national renewable targets, the European Union aimed to have 21% of its electricity coming from renewable energy sources by 2010. However, that the majority of Member States did not reach the indicative targets under this Directive.
With the current Renewable Energy Directive, Directive 2009/28/EC Europe introduced binding national targets and Member States were required to set out in National Renewable Energy Action Plans how - in the time period until 2020 - they seek to achieve their national targets, as well as the overall EU target of at least 20% renewable energy by 2020.
All Member States have implemented some form of Renewable Electricity Support Scheme and it is estimated that in 2020 more than a third of our electricity will come from renewable sources. The RES Directive itself has provided for an important basic conditions for renewable electricity when requiring that Member States grant priority grid access to renewable electricity - a provision which has however not always been implemented vigorously.
Challenges for the renewable electricity sector remain - and are actually increasing - with higher shares of renewable electricity: the grid needs to be updated and expanded, better communication between all parties concerned, and at all levels, is necessary and the administrative procedures for new plants as well as for new transmission lines need to be facilitated and made more transparent.
EREF is vigilant and focuses on fair access to the electricity market for renewable, independent producers, on clear priority access rules, fair balancing provisions, accelerated smartening of the grid structure, open and progressive Grid codes, swift planning and permitting rules, in short strengthening the role of the independent RE producer. EREF focuses also on the failures of the European Energy market, on unfair support for the incumbent industry.