A European Union for Renewable Energy
The Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung commissioned a working group of experts from politics, industry, applied science and civil society who have considered the challenges of renewable energy in the European Union. As a result of a series of expert meetings, the report ‘A European Union for Renewable Energy’ provides a collection of policy ideas for two key areas that will define the future of renewable energy development in Europe: grids, and support and remuneration schemes for renewables. The report shall serve as a stepping stone on the path to our sustainable, renewables-based future. At a moment of deep economic and institutional crisis in Europe, the vision of a ‘European Union for Renewable Energy’ is a positive project to give the EU a new push for integration.
We are now at a critical point in time to accelerate the transition to renewables in Europe and to make necessary investments and adjustments. Around two thirds of all power plants will have to be replaced in the coming years. At the same time, large parts of the European transmission and distribution grid require modernisation and are in need of reinvestment. With the phase-out of nuclear power in several European countries, opportunities to replace large quantities of nuclear energy with renewables are plentiful. With a feasibility study on a European Community for Renewable Energies (ERENE), the Heinrich Böll Foundation promoted the vision of completely covering European electricity needs through renewable energies through joint European action.
The European Commission’s Energy Roadmap 2050 explores routes towards a decarbonised energy system. A greater share of renewables will strengthen all of the EU’s major energy goals and commitment to substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change. In June 2012, the Commission outlined options for the EU’s renewable energy policy beyond 2020. The future of grids and the development of support and remuneration schemes are key factors for the transformation to a renewable energy-based system in Europe.