By ALESSANDRO TORELLO
BRUSSELS -- European countries have to do more if they want
to meet targets to increase the use of renewable energy by
2020, the European Union's executive body said Wednesday,
warning that failure to meet those targets would have "major
"While progress has been made until 2010, there are reasons
for concern about future progress," the European Commission
said in a statement. "Current policies alone will be
insufficient to trigger the required renewable energy
deployment in a majority of member states. Hence, additional
efforts will be needed for member states to stay on track in
the forthcoming years," it said.
The EU's overall target of increasing the role of renewable
energy to 20% of consumption in 2020, with each member country
having its specific one, is one of three main headline goals
that form the bloc's climate policy for this decade.
The renewable target is a key part of that policy and
failure to meet that goal would seriously undermine its
credibility, especially as a second goal -- increasing energy
saving -- is already under threat.
In addition, the EU's carbon market -- the bloc's flagship
program in reducing greenhouse gas emissions -- is under
pressure, as prices have fallen to record lows, raising
questions about its effectiveness.
The news also comes just as the bloc is starting to debate
the future of its policy to 2030.
Missing the 2020 target would slow down the EU's path to
becoming more energy independent and undermine the EU's
ambition to dramatically reduce CO2 emissions by mid century,
the commission said. It would also slow the reduction in
production costs, therefore limiting the competitiveness of the
European industry in the sector, it explained.
According to EU data, in 2010 the share of renewable energy
in the bloc was 12.7%, but the situation was very different
from country to country. Each nation has a specific 2020 target
and data differed widely, with Sweden already overshooting it
three years ago and the UK reaching only 3.3% out of a 15%
"For progress to continue and to meet the targets in 2020,
more efforts will be needed. Efforts must be especially made in
creating certainty for investors, reducing the administrative
burden and increasing clarity in the planning," the commission
Renewable energy is often still subsidized in Europe, but
many voices, including the EU, are starting to call for a phase
out of incentives, to leave the sector to operate more freely
according to market dynamics, as the technologies reach the
Connection to the broader electricity grid has also been an
issue for renewable energy, which is by definition intermittent
and has created problems of oversupply to national electricity
networks, like in Germany over the summer.
Dow Jones Newswires