Businesses call for single EU energy market

21st November 2016


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Related tags

  • Mitigation ,
  • Generation ,
  • Fossil fuels

Author

Peter Jones

Better harmonisation of energy markets across the EU could promote higher uptake of renewable energy by businesses, according to a new report.

The European Commission is revising the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) in line with the new EU target to produce 27% of energy from renewable sources by 2030, which equates to about half of all electricity.

The RE100, a group of 83 businesses including BT, Ikea and Google that have committed to use 100% renewable power across their operations, has proposed measures it wants included in the revised directive to help companies meet their electricity needs through renewable energy.

A report for the group written by think-tank E3G and the CDP points out that the number of major corporations looking to increase their use and generation of renewable energy is growing.

Damian Ryan, acting chief executive at the Climate Group, which leads the RE100, said: ‘More companies than ever before are committed to bold climate action because it makes business sense. But to ensure that many more are able to reach 100% renewable power, governments at all levels need to set or raise the ambition of long-term supportive policies.’

The RE100 said the current RED leaves policy on how to set up and operate national renewable energy frameworks at the discretion of individual member states. Instead, it wants to see a common rule-book for the energy market applied across EU. This, it argued, would remove the need for large consumers with premises across the EU to understand multiple different regulations relating to the procurement of renewable generation, including planning and permitting, network access arrangements and support mechanisms.

The rule-book should establish basic design principles for national renewable energy frameworks and a way to increase the integration of renewables, as well as set out how national systems could converge between 2020 and 2030.

The group suggested that templates could be established for the procurement of renewable electricity by corporations to reduce the complexity of buying power through power purchase agreements or from intermediaries. This could then be used at multiple sites with differing consumption spread across jurisdictions, it said.

Under the current directive, each member state has an individual binding target for renewable energy that collectively contributes to the overall EU target. However, the new targets are binding at EU level only. The RE100 is concerned that an absence of member state-specific targets will destabilise overall efforts to achieve the targets and create pockets where renewables are not being promoted.

To solve this, the group wants to see member states use their 2020 renewable energy targets as a baseline for what each must contribute to the 2030 target.

The RE100 recommends that the revised RED sets out the methodology that would apply if pledges by member state do not add up to the target. EU countries could contribute either by developing their own renewable capacity or by funding projects elsewhere to bridge any gap between their pledge contribution and their expected fair contribution to the collective EU target.

It business group also wants priority for renewables in grid planning. It said renewables should become the default supply option. Certification schemes could be aimed at non-renewable electricity instead of renewable generation, it said.

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