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New Debate About the Harmonization of the EU’s Support Instruments for Renewables and Binding targets’ Relevance?

Ulf Roßegger


How to support renewables is a subject of constant discussion at European level. The first initiatives to promote renewables at the European level goes back to the 1990s. In 2001, the European Union (EU) adopted a framework – Directive 2001/77/EC – for the promotion of electricity from renewable energy sources (RES). That former scheme has been replaced by Directive 2009/32/EC. As a new feature, the latter Directive contains for the first time binding targets in the share of renewable energies. The requirement for binding targets is derived by empirical results. Significantly, in 2010, when renewable energy national action plans were submitted, only 18% of the electricity was renewable, while 21% represented the achievable EU-wide target.With regard to implementing the political programs for supporting renewables, the EU has put forward the criteria of “harmonization” and “binding targets”. Currently, the main focus is already on the period beyond 2020, which leads to the significance of harmonization in combination with binding targets.

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