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European Commission releases progress report on renewable energy

The European Commission has released its much anticipated progress report on the Horizon 2020 renewable energy targets, which is published every two years on 16 June.In accordance with the requirements set out in the Renewable Energy Directive (Directive 2009/28/EC), the report provides a mid-term assessment of the progress of the EU and its Member States towards the 2020 renewable energy targets, and includes an assessment of the feasibility of 10% renewable energy target for transport, the sustainability of biofuels and bio liquids consumed in the EU and the impacts of this consumption in accordance with the requirements of the Directive.Even though the report voices optimism that most Member States are going to meet their 2020 targets it concludes that some Member States, including France, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, and to a lesser extent Belgium and Spain need to assess whether their policies and tools are sufficient and effective in meeting their renewable energy objectives. Achievement of the 2020 renewable energy targets is also not certain in the case of Hungary and Poland.

The report adds that it is only under optimistic assumptions related to the future development of energy demand and country-specific financing conditions that the 2020 renewable energy targets appear achievable.

The report is especially pessimistic in regards to the 10% renewable energy share target in the transport sector, reaching a share of only 5.7% in 2014. Progress is slow in most countries, except for Sweden, Finland, Austria, France and Germany, the report indicated.

It blamed delays in finalising the EU biofuels reform to limit the risks of indirect land-use change and a lack of progress on second generation biofuels.

In the heating and cooling sector, six member states – Denmark, Ireland, France, the Netherlands, Portugal and Slovakia – failed to meet planned deployment levels in 2013. Biomass-fired projects helped some nations meet targets, while support systems and planning issues have held up others.

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Issue 43