Proposal for Directive on Renewables: good starting point for solar electricity development by 2020

The European Commission presented this wednesday its proposal for a Directive on promotion of energy from renewable sources, on the way to achieving the 20% renewable energy target set for 2020. Proposal is welcomed by the photovoltaic sector as it should foster a strong uptake of solar electricity.

The European Commission presented this wednesday its proposal for a Directive on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources, on the way to achieving the 20% renewable energy target set for 2020. The proposal is welcomed by the photovoltaic sector as it should foster a strong uptake of solar photovoltaic electricity. However, a number of clarifications and improvements are necessary to ensure its concrete implementation.


Intermediate targets towards 2020
The photovoltaic sector welcomes the introduction of intermediate targets to be fulfilled by Member states. This should facilitate monitoring their progress towards 2020.

Feed-in tariffs are safeguarded
Member States will have the possibility to transfer Guarantees of Origin (GoO) to other Member States, provided they have reached or exceeded their own intermediate targets. This mechanism provides flexibility to EU countries by helping them to reach their targets without jeopardising successful existing support schemes such as feed-in tariffs. EPIA welcomes the recognition by the Commission that "well-adapted feed-in tariff regimes are generally the most efficient and effective support schemes for promoting renewable electricity" .

Binding priority access to the grid for renewable electricity
The introduction of binding priority access to the grid for renewable electricity is an important element of the proposal that should accelerate the development of PV markets in Europe. This represents clear progress in comparison with the existing directive on the promotion of renewable electricity of 2001.

Mandatory use of renewables in all new or refurbished buildings
The introduction of an obligation to use a certain level of renewables in all new or refurbished buildings is highly welcomed by the photovoltaic sector.

Progress towards the removal of administrative barriers
The proposal complements and strengthens the existing legislative framework on administrative procedures. It foresees the introduction of several useful provisions designed to reduce administrative barriers and improve the transparency of procedures.

Increased information and training
The insertion of a specific article on information on support measures, costs and benefits and energy efficiency of renewable energies is a positive element to emphasise. The introduction of accredited training programmes for installers should also contribute to the widening of knowledge of solar photovoltaic technologies.

Clarifications and improvements still needed
The proposal is definitely a good starting point, which EPIA supports. However a number of improvements and clarifications appear necessary.
In particular, provisions on transfer of Guarantees of Origin should be clarified. In addition, although targets are mandatory, no penalties are foreseen for Member states if they do not reach their own target. Moreover, a lot of margin for manoeuvres is available for Member States relating particularly to grid access; since this is a directive and not a regulation, many provisions are left to national implementation. This could result in variations between member states, which could be contrary to the completion of a single electricity market.

It is now up to the European Parliament and Council to provide their comments on the proposal. Based on the thorough expertise of its 150 member companies and national associations, EPIA intends to contribute intensively in the next phase of the decision- making process. Provided further clarifications are made, the photovoltaic sector will support a smooth adoption of the Directive on renewable energies, which will be critical to exploiting the long term potential of our sector.

You can download the proposal of Directive here: http://ec.europa.eu/energy/climate_actions/doc/2008_res_directive_en.pdf

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