EPN Report on “EU Governance of Renewable Energy Post 2020 – risks and options”

Report of the conference about EU’s Renewable Energy post 2020 organized by Henrich Boll Stiftung and IES on December 18th 2014: 
“ EU Governance of Renewable Energy Post 2020 – risks and options”

On December 18th EPN participated to the conference organized by Henrich Boll Stiftung and Institute for European Studies at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. The event hosted guests and speakers from the EU institutions and from different civil society organizations.

First of all, Sebastian Oberthür, ProfessorAcademic Director at the Institute for European Studies, presented speakers and introduced the conference. Then Tomas Wyns, Doctoral Researcher at Institute for European Studies (VUB), presented briefly the risks and options of EU governance of renewable energy post 2020. According to him, the EU’s post 2020 renewable energy policy could change significantly. Firstly, we could attend to the removal of national binding renewable energy targets after 2020. In that way EU could be blocked in her action and will face some difficulties to meet its own targets. He stressed the solution proposed by the European Commission which would be to introduce a governance system in order to improve the middle ground between Member States and EU. However, as he said : “the implementation of a governance process wouldn’t be enough without a strong legislation”. In that case, the solutions would be the reviewing of EU Renewable Energy Directive (adopted in 2009) and the removal of financial and regulatory barriers.

Furthermore, according the European Council’ communication of October 2014, the renewable energy target should increase of at least 27% instead of 20% (current rate) by 2030. Nonetheless, how could we reach this target without binding targets? Indeed, even if EU is ambitious and advocates for more renewable energy, it can’t be a total success without binding targets at the national level. For instance, Member States could decide not to reach this target because of the absence of sanctions. Finally, none forthcoming review of the current Renewable Energy Directive is predicted.

renenerg2                       renenerg3

According Tomas Wyns, the post 2020 EU Renewable Energy Directive could be enhance by several measures. Firstly, we need a review of the current Directive because main of those measures will expire after 2020. Secondly, the reviewed Directive should make sure that the current national binding targets (e.g. 20%) will be reach even after 2020. Finally, it should ensure that Member States share a guideline in order to give an upfront to EU.

Leonardo Zannier, Policy Officer at European Commission (DG Energy), stressed the European Commission’s priorities. For instance, he highlighted the streamline and simplification’s need  of the greenhouse gas, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Indeed, as long as we’ll have three separate processes the EU’s renewable energy policy won’t be efficient. Moreover, as Tomas Wyns said, European Commission advocates a governance process in order to improve collaboration between Member States and EU. Therefore without a governance process it would be impossible to create a mix of European measures and national measures.

Finally, according to Dorte Foquet, Energy Lawyer and partner at Becker Büttner Held, even if targets are clear, it remains unclear how to enforce them. We can do what we want but if Member States don’t want to do that, they may not able to do that.

To conclude, the willingness of Member States is one of the most important element in this analysis. As long as there won’t be a consensus on that point, we won’t have a relevant and efficient policy. Indeed, the governance process advocated by European Commission couldn’t work without the involvement of Member States and it’s not clear to what degree this policy has to be Europeanized or not. Nevertheless, as most shared competence of the EU, the renewable energy policy is building step by step.

Author : Siham Lechkar