Category Archives: Renewable Energy

Renewable sources of energy – wind power, solar power (thermal and photovoltaic), hydro-electric power, tidal power, geothermal energy and biomass – are an essential alternative to fossil fuels. Using these sources helps not only to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from energy generation and consumption but also to reduce the European Union’s (EU) dependence on imports of fossil fuels (in particular oil and gas).
In order to reach the ambitious target of a 20% share of energy from renewable sources in the overall energy mix, the EU plans to focus efforts on the electricity, heating and cooling sectors and on biofuels. In transport, which is almost exclusively dependent on oil, the Commission hopes that the share of biofuels in overall fuel consumption will be 10% by 2020.

Promotion of offshore wind energy

Promotion of offshore wind energy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Promotion of offshore wind energy

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Energy > Renewable energy

Promotion of offshore wind energy

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 13 November 2008 – ‘Offshore Wind Energy: Action needed to deliver on the Energy Policy Objectives for 2020 and beyond’ [COM(2008) 768 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

This Communication aims at promoting the development of maritime and offshore wind energy in the European Union.

Maritime wind energy can make a significant contribution to the three key objectives of the new Energy Policy, which are:

  • reducing greenhouse gas emissions;
  • the security of supply;
  • improving the competitiveness of the Union.

Benefits of maritime wind energy

This type of energy has a number of benefits compared to the production of onshore wind energy:

  • production units at sea are larger than on land;
  • winds are stronger and more stable at sea than on land;
  • wind farms at sea cause less concern among neighbouring citizens.

This type of wind farm can be beneficial for the protection of certain marine ecosystems and can also allow other new uses of the sea to be developed, especially offshore aquaculture, which can benefit from the substructures of wind farms.

This energy is also a vast, indigenous, clean and renewable source.

The potential of this type of energy

It appears entirely possible to envisage, by 2020, that its utilisation will be 30 to 40 times greater than the current installed capacity of offshore wind farms.

Other sources of energy production should also be developed on a large scale, such as tidal, wave, thermal or marine current energy.

It is therefore necessary to have a clear legislative and political framework in order to exploit this type of energy fully. It is possible, in this perspective, to develop synergies between the Energy Policy for Europe and the new Integrated Maritime Policy for the Union.

At European level, the existing framework has been supplemented by the third “internal energy market package” of October 2007 and by the “energy and climate” package presented in January 2008. The timely adoption and implementation of these two packages will form the EU’s main contribution to promoting offshore wind energy.

Obstacles to the development of maritime wind energy

The first obstacle to the development of maritime wind energy is the competition that it faces from the onshore wind energy sector and the oil and gas industry for financing, equipment and expertise. Businesses in the maritime wind energy sector encounter difficulties in financing the projects or technologies necessary for the development of this type of energy.

The second obstacle lies in the absence of electrical transmission systems at sea, and in Member States’ lack of experience with integrated spatial planning in the marine environment which may lead to the abandonment of certain projects. Moreover, the potential synergies between offshore projects and cross-border inter-connectors of regional electricity markets are currently not being exploited.

Third, not all of the protected areas in the marine environment have been designated yet.Consequently, it is difficult to define the boundaries of maritime wind farms. It is therefore crucial that Member States should designate the protected areas and exchange information on the environmental impact of wind farms.

Finally, offshore projects are bigger than onshore projects. The energy produced at sea, i.e. in an uninhabited area,will be difficult to distribute on land. It is therefore necessary to extend the interconnection capacity.

Offshore wind farms: the energy of the future

The development of maritime wind energy is a relevant alternative because it contributes to the implementation of clean energies.

Measures must be taken to enable the provision of the technologies and infrastructures necessary for the development of offshore wind farms. The European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET plan), adopted in 2008, constitutes the basic framework which will make it possible to meet the main technological challenges facing this sector by 2020. That plan identifies doubling the production of offshore wind farms as one of the key challenges for meeting the 2020 targets. This will make it possible to maintain the Union’s dominant position in the area of wind farm technology.

The Commission highlights maritime wind energy in its 2009 energy work programme and intends to support research in this field. It also encourages Member States to define the role of offshore wind farms clearly in their national plans envisaged in the context of the implementation of the new Directive concerning the promotion of renewable energy proposed by the Commission in January 2008.

The Commission undertakes to encourage transmission system operators and energy regulators to strengthen their cooperation in order to quickly put in place more favourable regulatory conditions encouraging investment in transnational offshore grids, cross-border trade and the development of efficient balancing power markets.

Another challenge lies in integrated spatial planning of the marine environment in order to reconcile the sectoral interests of environmental and species protection with the production of clean energy, and in this context the Commission will also seek to facilitate regional cooperation in the planning of the electricity grid and the planning of offshore wind farm sites.

Context

Electricity from wind represents around 4% of the total production of electricity from clean energies in the EU. Nevertheless, its importance is tending to increase insofar as wind energy, together with natural gas, represents the fastest-growing generation technology and has reached rates of around 20% in some Member States.

Renewable energy

Renewable energy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Renewable energy

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Energy > Renewable energy

Renewable energy

Renewable sources of energy – wind power, solar power (thermal and photovoltaic), hydro-electric power, tidal power, geothermal energy and biomass – are an essential alternative to fossil fuels. Using these sources helps not only to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from energy generation and consumption but also to reduce the European Union’s (EU) dependence on imports of fossil fuels (in particular oil and gas).
In order to reach the ambitious target of a 20% share of energy from renewable sources in the overall energy mix, the EU plans to focus efforts on the electricity, heating and cooling sectors and on biofuels. In transport, which is almost exclusively dependent on oil, the Commission hopes that the share of biofuels in overall fuel consumption will be 10% by 2020.

POLICY ORIENTATIONS

  • Promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources
  • Renewable Energy Road Map
  • “Intelligent Energy for Europe” programme (2003-2006)
  • The Global Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Fund
  • Renewable energy: the share of renewable energy in the EU in 2004

ELECTRICITY

  • Renewable energy: the promotion of electricity from renewable energy sources
  • Support for electricity from renewable energy sources

HEATING AND COOLING

  • Biomass Action Plan

BIOFUELS

  • EU strategy for biofuels
  • Motor vehicles: use of biofuels

WIND ENERGY

  • Promotion of offshore wind energy

Support for electricity from renewable energy sources

Support for electricity from renewable energy sources

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Support for electricity from renewable energy sources

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Energy > Renewable energy

Support for electricity from renewable energy sources

Document or Iniciative

Commission Communication of 7 December 2005 “The support of electricity from renewable energy sources” [COM(2005) 627 final – Official Journal C 49 of 28 February 2006].

Summary

This communication reports on the progress made in achieving the objectives set by the Member States in the field of renewable energies, as stipulated by the previous 2001 Directive. It focuses specifically on public support allocated to assist the market penetration of electricity produced from renewable energy sources (RES-E).

The existing support schemes cover the following:

  • feed-in tariffs exist in most of the Member States. These systems are characterised by a specific price, normally set for a period of around seven years, that must be paid by electricity companies, usually distributors, to domestic producers of green electricity;
  • the green certificate system, currently in force in Sweden, the United Kingdom, Italy, Belgium and Poland. RES-E is sold at the conventional market price. In order to finance the additional cost of producing green electricity, and to ensure that it is generated in sufficient quantities, all consumers are obliged to purchase a certain number of green certificates from RES-E producers according to a fixed percentage (quota) of their total electricity consumption/generation;
  • tendering systems exist in two Member States (Ireland and France). Under this procedure, the State issues a series of invitations to tender for the supply of RES-E, which will be sold at market price. The additional cost is passed on to the final consumer in the form of a special tax;
  • tax incentives used exclusively in Malta and Finland.

To assess the performance of these support schemes, it is necessary to:

  • take into account the substantial differences between the national, regional and agricultural resources of different Member States. The wider the gap between “generation costs” and “support”, the less the cost-efficient the system is;
  • take into account the effectiveness of the different support schemes. Effectiveness refers to the ability of a support scheme to deliver green electricity;
  • compare the profits from an investor perspective and compare effectiveness so as to indicate whether the success of a particular policy results above all from substantial financial incentives or whether there are other aspects that have had a crucial impact on market distribution in the countries in question.

The different forms of renewable energy affected by this support include:

  • wind energy, for which analyses show that support is too low for any take-off in a quarter of the Member States. Another quarter of Member States provide enough support but still obtain mediocre results. Feed-in tariffs are currently the most effective systems for wind energy in Germany, Denmark and Spain;
  • biomass forestry requires the use of straw, which is taken into account in analyses of biomass forestry. Denmark is the main country using this type of biomass. In close to half of all European countries, support for this form of renewable energy is still insufficient to develop this high potential sector;
  • the biogas sector is closely linked to environmental policy for waste treatment. In nearly 70% of cases not enough support is provided for the development of this technology;
  • the other renewable energy sources to benefit from this support are hydroelectricity and photovoltaic solar energy (especially in Germany). There are several other sources of renewable energy (geothermal, wave, tidal, solar thermal, etc) which, although they receive support in some Member States, have not yet been developed on an industrial scale.

Circulation of renewable energy on the internal market

These support schemes for RES-E cannot be separated from the internal electricity market. The compatibility of the different renewable energy support schemes with the development of the internal electricity market is essential in the medium and long term. Support for renewable sources of energy falls under the Community framework for State aid for environmental protection, whereas at the national level, the rules on State aid can influence the type of support scheme.

The Commission stresses that the market is dominated by one or several power companies that are too often vertically integrated. The existence of distribution and transport grid operators should guarantee all generators fair grid access, respecting the rules of competition. That is why the independence of these grid operators is vital to the proper functioning of the support schemes.

Governments must also ensure that consumers are informed of the way in which these support schemes for renewable energies affect consumers.

A distinction needs to be made between the physical trade in electricity and the green value of the electricity. RES-E is subject to the same restrictions as conventional electricity, including the mandatory disclosure system. This system makes it compulsory to inform consumers of the contribution of each energy source to the overall fuel mix.

The support covered by the Community framework for State aid for environmental protection may distort competition. These economic effects may however be justified and compensated for by the beneficial effects for the environment. Since the use of renewable energy sources is a priority for Community policy, the mentioned framework tends to favour support schemes. Some sixty support schemes for RES-E were already approved by the Commission during the period 2001 to 2004.

Towards a harmonisation of the rules?

Harmonisation between potential and actual development of renewable energies varies greatly among the Member States. In the short term, harmonisation seems unlikely. The Commission regards harmonisation of the rules in this sector as being desirable, as any changes to the system in the short term might disrupt some markets.

Achieving the potential benefits of harmonisation presupposes:

  • integration of renewable energies on the internal market, making the RES-E sector more competitive;
  • reduction of the forecast costs for RES-E to achieve its target share for 2010 on the basis of a harmonisation of systems such as green certificates and feed-in tariffs. These forecasts suppose the elimination of market distortions caused by support for conventional energy sources;
  • creation of a system of green certificates at the European level that would be more wide-ranging and therefore more liquid, making it possible to ensure greater price stability on national markets;
  • a common feed-in tariff system for the whole of Europe, bearing in mind the availability of resources at the local level. This could lower the cost of all RES technologies in the different Member States once installations are no longer reserved for only some of them.

Avoiding the potential disadvantages of harmonisation presupposes:

  • the absence of any significant fluctuation in the price of green certificates to avoid increasing investor uncertainty and holding back the development of RES;
  • costs linked to information on these technologies and keeping such costs low;
  • development of competitive technologies only, in the context of green certificates, as this system favours profitability above all else. Investment in other promising technologies would be insufficient.

Consideration must also be given to Member States that are importers of RES-E. There is a risk that they will not wish to pay the bill without also benefiting from the advantages at the local level to which they would have access if the renewable energy were being produced on their territory. In any case, the exporting countries may not wish to keep an excess capacity of RES if the public is opposed to building future RES installations on their territory.

Recommendations concerning administrative barriers and grid access

Such barriers appear when the project developers or investors disagree over the installation of new generation capacities or over grid access. The Commission has launched a public consultation into perceptions of these barriers and recommends that action be taken in relation to the following:

  • the large number of authorities involved (national, regional and local) and the lack of coordination between them leads to uncertainty in connection with investment. Single authorisation services should be set up;
  • it can take several years to obtain the necessary permits and this can completely freeze the development of the market. The Member States must set out clear guidelines and a precise division of responsibilities;
  • the insufficient attention given to RES in spatial planning, which must be improved by encouraging public authorities to anticipate future RES projects through the establishment of advance planning mechanisms. It is also important that the planning and authorisation process complies with European environmental legislation.

Grid access problems play a crucial role in the increase in RES-E generation. The Member States have largely put the necessary legislative provisions in place whereby grid operators guarantee transport and distribution. In the view of the Commission, transparent rules are required in order to meet and share out the necessary cost of investment in the grid, as the absence of such rules is the source of numerous difficulties.

Denmark, Finland, Germany and the Netherlands have established rules of good practice in relation to the sharing of the cost of the various investments that have to be made in the grid. Such good practice makes it possible to implement the “shallow” cost approach, under which grid connection costs are borne by project developments or shared with grid operators. These rules should be completely transparent and non-discriminatory.

The Commission stresses the necessity of developing grid infrastructure so as to be able to absorb the future increase in RES-E generation.

Lastly, the Commission recommends the establishment of a system to guarantee the origin of electricity generated from renewable energy sources in order to facilitate trade and ensure transparency for consumers.

Preference for a coordinated approach

In the view of the Commission, harmonisation is still at an experimental stage and it consequently advocates a coordinated approach to support schemes benefiting renewable energy sources, based on the following:

  • international cooperation which would certainly contribute to the development of the different support schemes in Europe, prior to undertaking partial harmonisation;
  • optimisation of national schemes that are indicative of the ineffectiveness of such systems, resulting in a rise in prices for consumers.

In order to optimise their national schemes, the Member States should take the following action:

  • consolidate the legislative framework and limit investment risks linked to the intermittent nature of national support schemes. The system must appear stable and financially viable in the long term in the eyes of economic operators in order to contribute to greater transparency in market prices;
  • encourage technological diversity even if RES technology appears to be the most competitive at present. Better use should be made of exemptions and tax reductions offered to renewable energy sources;
  • ensure compatibility with the internal electricity market with a view to integrating these support schemes in a liberalised energy market;
  • encourage employment and local and regional benefits;
  • work in unison with national energy efficiency and demand management schemes so as to avoid cancelling out the progress achieved by RES-E with an excessive increase in consumption.

Background

The Commission will closely monitor developments concerning European renewable energy policy. It will draw up a report by the end of 2007 at the latest on the levels envisaged by the national systems for promoting electricity from renewable energy sources. It will report on the drive towards the completion of the internal electricity market and further analyse the options for and the impact of possible harmonisation.

Related Acts

of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 September 2001 on the promotion of electricity produced from renewable energy sources in the internal electricity market [OJ L 283 of 27.10.2001]

 

Renewable energy: the promotion of electricity from renewable energy sources

Renewable energy: the promotion of electricity from renewable energy sources

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Renewable energy: the promotion of electricity from renewable energy sources

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Energy > Renewable energy

Renewable energy: the promotion of electricity from renewable energy sources

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2001/77/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 September 2001 on the promotion of electricity from renewable energy sources in the internal electricity market [See amending acts].

Summary

Background

The promotion of electricity from renewable energy sources (RES) is a high European Union (EU) priority for several reasons, including the security and diversification of energy supply, environmental protection and social and economic cohesion.

The Directive follows up the 1997 White Paper on renewable energy sources which set a target of 12% of gross inland energy consumption from renewables for the EU-15 by 2010, of which electricity would represent 22.1%. With the 2004 enlargement, the EU’s overall objective became 21%. The Directive also constitutes an essential part of the package of measures needed to comply with the commitments made by the EU under the Kyoto Protocol on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

European companies are currently among the world leaders in developing new technologies connected with RES electricity. The Directive aims to give a boost to stepping up the contribution of these energies while respecting the principles of the internal market.

Scope

The Directive concerns electricity produced from non-fossil renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal, wave, tidal, hydroelectric, biomass, landfill gas, sewage treatment gas and biogas energies. The definitions in Directive 96/92/EC concerning common rules for the internal market in electricity are also applicable to this Directive.

National targets for consumption of electricity from renewable sources of energy

The Member States which joined the EU in 2004 must apply the provisions of Directive 2001/77/EC on producing electricity from renewable energy sources. Their Accession Treaty sets national indicative targets for the proportion of electricity produced from RES (RES-E) in each new Member State the result of which is an overall objective of 21% for the EU-25.

The Member States must adopt and publish, initially every five years, a report setting the indicative Member State targets for future RES-E consumption for the following ten years and showing what measures have or are to be taken to meet those targets. The Member State targets must take account of the reference values set out in the Annex to the Directive for Member States’ indicative targets concerning the share of electricity produced from renewable energy sources in gross electricity consumption in 2010. They must also be compatible with all the national commitments entered into as part of the commitments accepted by the Community in Kyoto.

Evaluation of national targets and measures

This evaluation will be undertaken at national and Community level.

Evaluation at Community level

At Community level, the Commission is to publish a biannual report based on the national reports assessing the extent to which:

  • the Member States have progressed towards achieving the national targets;
  • the national indicative targets are compatible with the global indicative target of 12% of gross domestic energy consumption in 2010, and in particular with the indicative share of 22.1% of electricity from renewable energy sources out of the total electricity consumption of the Community in 2010.

Should the Commission’s report conclude that the national targets are liable to be inconsistent with the main objectives of the Directive, the Commission may present proposals to the European Parliament and to the Council with respect to the targets, including, if need be, proposals for obligatory targets.

Directive 2001/77/EC is repealed by Directive 2009/28/EC from 1 January 2012. Moreover, from 1 April 2010, Article 2, paragraph 2 of Article 3 and Articles 4 to 8 will be deleted.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 2001/77/EC

27.10.2001

27.10.2003

OJ L 283 of 27.10.2001

Amending acts Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Act of Accession of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia

1.5.2004

JO L 236 du 23.09.2003

Directive 2006/108/CE

1.1.2007

1.1.2007

JO L 363 du 20.12.2006

Directive 2009/28/CE

25.6.2009

5.12.2010

JO L 140 du 5.6.2009

Successive amendments and corrections to Directive 2001/77/EC have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated versionis for reference purpose only.

Renewable energy: the share of renewable energy in the EU in 2004

Renewable energy: the share of renewable energy in the EU in 2004

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Renewable energy: the share of renewable energy in the EU in 2004

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Energy > Renewable energy

Renewable energy: the share of renewable energy in the EU in 2004

The Commission Green Paper entitled “Towards a European strategy for the security of energy supply” highlighted the EU’s high energy dependence. The EU now depends on imports to meet 50% of its energy needs. This will increase to 70% in 2030 with an increasing reliance on oil and gas. This situation presents many economic, political and environmental risks.
In this context, and even if conventional fossil fuels and nuclear power remain key sources of energy, the EU must play its part by promoting renewable energy.

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament – The share of renewable energy in the EU – Commission Report in accordance with Article 3 of Directive 2001/77/EC, evaluation of the effect of legislative instruments and other Community policies on the development of the contribution of renewable energy sources in the EU and proposals for concrete actions [COM(2004) 366 final – not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

This Communication assesses the development of renewable energy in the European Union. It serves three purposes:

  • to implement the provisions of Directive 2001/77/EC under which the Commission is required to make a formal report evaluating the progress made by EU15 towards achieving national targets for 2010 for renewable energy sources;
  • to assess the prospects for achieving the target of 12% of overall energy consumption being produced from renewable energy in EU15 in 2010;
  • to put forward proposals for concrete actions at national and Community level to ensure the EU’s renewable energy targets are achieved in 2010.

In order to promote progress, since 2000 the EU has, in a legislative framework, set two indicative targets for renewable energy:

  • to increase the share of electricity generated by renewable energy to 22% in 2010 for EU15 (compared with 14% in 2000);
  • to increase the share of biofuels in diesel and petrol used for transport to 5.75% in 2010 (compared with 0.6% in 2002).

The ten new Member States of the EU are obliged to implement the provisions of Directive 2001/77/EC on the production of electricity from renewable energy sources. To this end, indicative national targets for the share of electricity from renewable energy in each new Member State are set out in the Accession Treaty. These targets mean that the collective target for EU25 is 21%.

Commission Report on progress made at national level

Pursuant to Directive 2001/77/EC, all the Member States have adopted national targets on the share of electricity produced from renewable energy sources. With the measures that have been put in place, the Commission estimates that the share of renewable energy sources in EU15 is on course to reach 10% in 2010.

However, it is currently difficult to predict whether the policies carried out and the measures adopted in the EU will enable these targets to be reached by 2010. If the current trend continues, the rate of consumption of electricity produced from renewable energy in 2010 can still be extrapolated to between 18 and 19%.

According to the report, the situation varies considerably from one Member State to another. In general, countries can be divided into three groups having made different amounts of progress as regards renewable energy:

  • Germany, Denmark, Spain and Finland have implemented an energy policy which should enable them to reach their national targets;
  • Austria, Belgium, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Sweden have begun adopting policies and measures which would also allow them to achieve their national targets;
  • Greece and Portugal must improve their policies since these will not enable them to reach their targets.

Information is not available for Italy and Luxembourg. The situation in the new Member States will undergo an initial evaluation in 2006.

In terms of different sources of renewable energy used for electricity production, it seems that the EU should concentrate on developing wind, solar and biomass technologies.

  • Wind energy: the European wind industry has 90% of the world equipment market. Germany, Spain and Denmark alone account for 84% of European production capacity.
  • Biomass: the development of biomass technologies is hampered by the lack of policy coordination and insufficient funding. Only Denmark, Finland and the United Kingdom are experiencing significant growth rates for this energy source. However, in most of the new Member States there is a sound potential for the use of biomass to generate both electricity and heat.
  • Photovoltaicselectricity (solar): photovoltaic output is still limited; however, this energy form could in the long term be developed to a greater extent in the EU. This will only be possible if a reliable political framework is created allowing companies in the photovoltaic sector to make their investments profitable.

Supporting programmes and Member State actions

Over the last two years, Member States have implemented new policies in the field of renewable energy. Legal frameworks are more structured and financial conditions have become clearer. In this respect, the Community has only limited means for funding renewable energies. The following actions were undertaken:

  • (2003-2006): The “Intelligent Energy” programme is intended to improve energy efficiency (SAVE actions), to promote new and renewable energy sources (Altener actions), to support initiatives tackling the energy aspects of transport (STEER) and to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency in developing countries (Coopener);
  • (2002-2006): The programme focuses on sustainable development and the knowledge-based economy. It concentrates on five research priorities: cost-effective supply of renewable energies, large-scale integration of renewable energy, eco-buildings, polygeneration and alternative motor fuels.

Energy efficiency is as important as renewable energy in increasing security of energy supply and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Renewable energy policy began by setting an overall target (the 12% target).

In order to achieve this target, the Member States of the EU are required to promote biofuels and the use of renewable energy in heating systems. The fate of biofuels remains heavily influenced by tax exemptions. To date, seven Member States have either completely or partially exempted biofuels from taxes under European legislation: Germany, Austria, Spain, France, Italy, the United Kingdom and Sweden.

Biofuels are relatively expensive, although the additional costs which they incur are justified by benefits across several policy fields.

More effort must be put into using renewable energy for heating. This sector remains highly dominated by traditional biomass use (fuel wood). And yet heat produced by solar energy and the biogas sector has the potential for growth and development. Supporting policies are also needed to make the use of wood much more profitable and to promote other forms of biomass.

New initiatives for increased investment in renewable energy: new initiatives

According to a 2003 report, between EUR 10 to15 billion will need to be invested each year in order for 12% of energy in the EU to be produced from renewable sources in 2010. Over time, the development of each energy source has benefited from substantial public funding and risk support from Member States. Member States have different means at their disposal to support renewable energy sources, such as electricity feed-in tariffs, green certificates, market-based mechanisms, tax exemptions etc.

Supplementary action could be explored on the following fronts:

  • the establishment of a new financial instrument which could be tailored to accommodate the diversity and specificity of the renewables and energy efficiency sectors. This instrument should support the first market applications of technologies of European relevance and could be the main component of the successor to the current “Intelligent Energy-Europe” programme;
  • the future “Intelligent Energy-Europe” programme should also boost support for action at local and regional level. The aim is to enable Europeans to make informed decisions about energy and to help remove non-technological barriers to the use of clean energy;
  • strengthening public support for research and technological development in renewables.

The other measures planned are:

  • a Community plan for biomass: by the end of 2005, the Commission will put forward a coordinated biomass plan with a clear approach to securing adequate supplies of biomass through European, national and regional/local action in the fields of energy, agriculture, waste, forestry, industry, rural development and the environment;
  • developing renewable energy in heating: the Community has already adopted directives on the energy performance of buildings and cogeneration. The Commission will bring forward further initiatives to accelerate the fulfilment of the potential of three key technologies (heating through efficient use of biomass, solar energy and geothermal energy);
  • offshore wind policy: the Commission will review the obstacles and objections that may block the development of offshore wind energy as well as the environmental requirements which need to be met. It will also support research and development to improve turbine technology and the stability of the grid in order to increase the penetration of wind energy to over 20%;
  • electricity from solar energy: the EU needs continued, targeted RTD funding to develop increasingly pollution-free production technologies, such as solar thermal electricity for which some promising pilot projects which have just been launched in southern Europe;
  • using major Community financing instruments: from 2004 onwards, the Commission intends to place special emphasis on the deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency by using the EU’s structural and cohesion funds;
  • placing biofuels on the market: Directive 98/70/EC on fuel quality lays down specifications which limit the blending of biofuels for petrol and diesel. Member States may require each company to place a given quantity of biofuels on their national market, but may not require that all fuel sold be blended with biofuels;
  • timely data: official data on the contribution of renewable energy sources is currently available about 18 months after the end of the year in question. The Commission will make data available more quickly.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament –[COM(2006) 848 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Directive 2006/32/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 April 2006 on energy end-use efficiency and energy services [Official Journal L 191 of 22.7.2005]

Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 July 2006 on establishing a framework for the setting of eco-design requirements for energy-using products and amending Council Directive 92/42/EEC [Official Journal L 114 of 22.7.2005].

Directive 2004/8/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 February 2004 on the promotion of cogeneration based on a useful heat demand in the internal energy market and amending Directive 92/42/EEC [Official Journal L 52 of 21.02.2004].

Directive 2003/30/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 May 2003 on the promotion of the use of biofuels or other renewable fuels for transport [Official Journal L 123 of 17.05.2003].

Directive 2003/96/EC of 27 October 2003 restructuring the Community framework for the taxation of energy products and electricity [Official Journal L 283 of 31/10/2003].

Directive 2002/91/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2002 on the energy performance of buildings [Official Journal L 1 of 04.01.2003].

Regulation (EC) No 2422/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 November 2001 on a Community energy efficiency labelling programme for office equipment [Official Journal L 332 of 15.12.2001].

Directive 2001/77/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 September 2001 on the promotion of electricity produced from renewable energy sources in the internal electricity market [Official Journal L 283 of 27.10.2001].

Directive 2000/55/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 September 2000 on energy efficiency requirements for ballasts for fluorescent lighting [Official Journal L 279 of 01.11.2000].

 

Motor vehicles: use of biofuels

Motor vehicles: use of biofuels

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Motor vehicles: use of biofuels

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Energy > Renewable energy

Motor vehicles: use of biofuels

The European Union (EU) creates a Community framework to promote the use of biofuels in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the environmental impact of transport, and to increase security of supply.

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2003/30/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 May 2003 on the promotion of the use of biofuels or other renewable fuels for transport.

Summary

Background

The Directive requires the Member States to introduce legislation and take the necessary measures to ensure that biofuels (liquid or gaseous fuels used for transport and produced from biomass, i.e. biodegradable waste and residue from, for example, agriculture and forestry) account for a minimum proportion of the fuel sold on their territory.

In the context of sustainable development in Europe and the Green Paper “Towards a European strategy for the security of energy supply”, the Commission is proposing a genuine action plan aimed at increasing the share of biofuels to more than 20 % of European petrol and diesel consumption by 2020.

According to the forecasts in the Green Paper, the transport sector will grow by approximately 2 % per annum over the coming decade. However, greater use of biofuels for transport is part of the package of measures needed for compliance with the Kyoto Protocol.

The ultimate goal is to reduce dependency on the use of oil-based fuels, which is a significant cause for concern for the European Union (EU) in terms of the environment and security of supply.

Content of the Directive

The Directive sets a minimum percentage of biofuels to replace diesel or petrol for transport purposes in each Member State. It is a question of reducing conventional emissions of CO2 (carbon dioxide), CO (carbon monoxide), NOx (nitrogen oxides), VOC (volatile organic compounds) and other particles which are toxic for health and the environment.

The different types of biofuels are as follows:

  • bioethanol: produced by the fermentation of plants rich in sugar/starch;
  • biodiesel: a diesel-quality fuel produced from biomass or used frying oils and used as biofuel;
  • ETBE: etherised bioethanol;
  • biogas: a fuel gas produced by the fermentation of organic matter by bacterial populations in the absence of oxygen;
  • biomethanol: methanol produced from biomass;
  • bio-oil: an oil fuel produced by pyrolysis (molecular decomposition of biomass through the application of heat and in the absence of air).

The Member States must ensure that the minimum share of biofuels sold on their markets is 5.75 %. Any Member State setting lower objectives will have to justify this on the basis of objective criteria.

Before 1 July each year, the Member States must address a report to the Commission on:

  • the measures taken to promote the use of biofuels and other renewable fuels;
  • the national resources allotted to the production of biomass for energy purposes other than transport;
  • the total quantities of fuels for transport sold in the course of the year.

The Directive will provide a stimulus to the rural economy through the creation of new sources of income and employment. In many cases in the agri-food and forestry industries, biofuels could turn problematical waste production into a sustainable product.

Directive 2003/30/EC is repealed by Directive 2009/28/EC with effect from 1 January 2012.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 2003/30/EC

17.5.2003

31.12.2004

OJ L 123, 17.5.2003

Amending act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 2009/28/EC

25.6.2009

5.12.2010

OJ L 140, 5.6.2009

Related Acts

Communication 2010/C 160/01 from the Commission on voluntary schemes and default values in the EU biofuels and bioliquids sustainability scheme [Official Journal C 160 of 19.6.2010].

Communication 2010/C 160/02 from the Commission on the practical implementation of the EU biofuels and bioliquids sustainability scheme and on counting rules for biofuels [Official Journal C160 of 19.6.2010].

Commission communication of 10 January 2007 “Renewable energy road map. Renewable energies in the 21st century: building a more sustainable future” [COM(2006) 848 – not published in the Official Journal].

Report from the Commission of 10 January 2007 – Biofuels Progress Report. Report on the progress made in the use of biofuels and other renewable fuels in the Member States of the European Union [COM(2006) 845 final – not published in the Official Journal].

Commission communication of 8 February 2006 “An EU strategy for biofuels” [COM(2006) 34 final – Official Journal C 67, 18.3.2006].

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Last updated: 10.05.2007