The European Commission Renewable Energy Progress Report: indicative targets for solar thermal energy are not being met.

Further action from Member States needed.

Brussels, 16 June 2015. The European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF) welcomes the publication of the renewable energy progress report from the European Commission. This is as an important milestone for the renewable sector - in particular the solar thermal technology - as it highlights the challenges and opportunities still to be explored to reach the 2020 targets.

The key contribution of the renewable heating and cooling sector towards achieving the 2020 targets has been rightly acknowledged, as well as its ability to provide a ‘cost-efficient and secure alternative to fossil fuels in Member States'. The specific contribution of the solar thermal sector, below the NREAPs levels, shows the need to call for further action from the Member States so that it can ‘play [its] role in meeting the 2020 renewable energy obligations', particularly considering the final push needed up to 2020 to keep on track.

Solar thermal technology is crucial for the EU to achieve a quick, efficient switch from fossil fuels to renewables for heating requirements at local, decentralised level, thus contributing to the EU energy security strategy. Keeping the level of deployment of this technology far below the potential outlined in the NREAPs overlooks the capability of an innovative European industry that can create over 100 000 jobs across the EU by 2020, while contributing to the overall climate and sustainable energy goals of the European Union.

The progress report also justly identifies the necessity of developing further measures to tackle ‘regulatory uncertainty and administrative barriers [that] continue to impact private investments', and stresses the need for a better implementation of articles 13 (use of renewables in buildings) and 14 (training and information), while underlining also the importance of binding targets at national level as a ‘key driver for renewable energy capacity development'. ESTIF welcomes those proposals and calls on the Commission to act on them, in the light of the 2020 target as well as for the 2030 timeframe.

ESTIF Secretary General, Pedro Dias, commenting the news, said: ‘it is obvious that the Solar Thermal sector has an untapped potential in meeting EU objectives for a secure, sustainable, competitive and job-rich decarbonizes energy sector. This industry is ready to work with the European Commission and the Member States, acting on the findings of this report to realize its full potential and bring real benefits to the EU and its citizens'.

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