Big EU states 'to miss 2020 goals'

The UK, Spain and Poland are expected to miss their 2020 renewable energy targets, according to the “EU Tracking Roadmap 2013” study presented at EU Sustainable Energy Week in Brussels today.

“There are worrying signs on the horizon as current growth rates are insufficient to meet the 2020 targets,” says Rainer Hinrichs-Rahlwes, president of the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) and a member of German renewable energy association BEE.

Hinrichs said that while growth toward the 2020 renewables target in the electricity sector in most of Europe is faster than foreseen in national action plans, it is too slow in the heating and cooling sector and particularly worrying in the transport sector.

“EU Member States should create and implement predictable and stable legislative frameworks for renewable energy sources,” he added, saying the UK, for example, has "unsufficient support schemes and a lack of coherent policies".

A consortium of participants in the renewable energy sector coordinated by EREC that presents the study also said it has “serious doubts” as to whether Germany, Portugal, Greece and Bulgaria will be able to meet their 2020 goals.

Only Austria, Italy and Sweden are actually expected to meet their 2020 targets, the research says.

Germany, which is usually known to be among the frontrunners of renewable energy development, is among the countries with a question mark hanging over their 2020 targets due to recent discussions on the support framework, Hinrichs claimed.

"So it seems that it can't be taken for granted that the 2020 target will be reached," he said.

To help countries meet their renewables goals, the group led by EREC has developed a number of policy recommendations and an analysis of deviations and barriers, which it will publish once every year between now and 2015.

“The 2020 targets by their simple presence are providing growth and employment throughout Europe. The EU’s renewables sector directly and indirectly employs more than 1.2 million people, which represents a 30% increase in just two years,” says Hinrichs-Rahlwes.

“By 2020, 2.7 million people in the EU could be employed by the renewables sector”, he adds.

In 2012, there were 5.7m jobs worldwide in renewable energy industries, and the potential for job creation continues to be a main driver for renewable energy policies, EREC claims.