EU Policy for renewable energy

In late 1997, the European Commission published a White Paper on promoting the use of renewable energy sources. At community level, the target is for renewables to account for 12 per cent of total energy consumption by 2010, as against the 1995 figure of 6 per cent. Bioenergy will play a leading role in doubling the use of renewables. The target is to increase the annual use of bioenergy from 45 Mtoe to 135 Mtoe.

In 2001, the European Commission introduced a Green Paper “Towards a European strategy for the security of energy supply”, which highlights also the importance of renewable energy sources in security of supply. EU directive (2001/77/EC) sets targets to increase the share of renewables to 22 per cent in total Community electricity consumption by 2010.

In the transports directive’s (2003/30/EC) objective is to replace 5.75% of the energy of all petrol and diesel transport fuels by renewable fuels.
In January 2005 the European Union Greenhouse Gas Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS) commenced operation as the largest multi-country, multi-sector Greenhouse Gas emission trading scheme world-wide. The scheme is based on Directive 2003/87/EC, which entered into force on 25 October 2003.

The proposal for a Renewable Energy Directive aims to establish an overall binding target of a 20% share of renewable energy sources in final energy consumption and a 10% binding minimum target for biofuels in transport to be achieved by each Member State, as well as binding national targets by 2020 in line with the overall EU target of 20%. The role of biomass fuels in achieving these targets is significant. Among the "20%" scenarios, the highest biomass contribution anticipated is 230 Mtoe (2,675 TWh). This includes a maximum of 63 Mtoe (733 TWh) that would have to come from agricultural crops (if the entire biofuel contribution had to come from first-generation biofuels). On the conservative assumption that 15% of the biomass used is imported, the contribution that would have to come from the EU would be a maximum of 195 Mtoe (2,268 TWh).

EU policy in internet: