European Commission publishes progress report on RED

By Erin Voegele | March 27, 2013

On March 27 the European Commission published its first Renewable Energy Progress Report under the Renewable Energy Directive, showing that the EU as a whole is on its trajectory towards the 2020 RED targets. However, with regard to EU biofuels and bioliquids sustainability criteria, the commission said implementation of the biofuel scheme is too slow.

Under the RED, the European Commission is required to publish a Renewable Energy Progress Report every two years. The report aims to assess the progress made by member states in promoting and using renewable energy. The report also describes the overall renewable energy policy developments in each member state and their compliance with requirements of the RED and National Renewable Energy Action Plans. In addition, it addresses the sustainability of biofuels and bioliquids consumed in the European Union along with the impacts resulting from consumption.

According to the report, most member states have experienced significant growth in renewable energy in recent years. In fact, the report points out that the 2010 renewable energy shares of 20 member states, and the E.U. as a whole, where above the first interim target set for 2011-’12. The outlook, however, is less optimistic through 2020, when the RED requires renewable energy to comprise 20 percent of final energy consumption and 10 percent of transportation energy consumption.

Specifically, the report notes that 15 member states failed to reach their 2010 renewable electricity targets, while 22 member states failed to achieve the 5.75 percent renewable transportation target for 2010.

The analysis suggests that future investment may decline or be delayed in the renewable energy sector unless further measures are taken by member states to achieve their targets. “Given investment lead times of eight to ten years, any major disruption of investment today will have significant impact on renewable energy production over the coming years and has become cause for concern,” said the commission in the report. “Hence, many Member States will need further measures to ensure the achievement of their targets.”

With regard to transportation biofuels, there commission said that a slight surplus over the planned trajectory will decline and result in a deficit, unless further measures are taken. “In addition, the commission has proposed an amendment to the 10 percent target for renewable energy in the transport sector, requiring greater use of non-food feedstock to contribute towards the target,” states the report. “Greater reliance on advanced feedstock (which produces higher greenhouse gas savings than food-related feedstock) clearly requires additional measures for the target to be reached.

A full copy of the report can be downloaded from the European Commission’s website.