Renewable Energy Directive – European Commission

Renewable Energy Directive - European Commission

The Renewable Energy Directive is there to establish overall policy for the production and promotion of renewable energy within the European Union.  The directive requires EU members to switch to at least 20% renewable energy to meet energy needs by the year 2020.  This needs to be achieved through each member hitting their individual targets.  Also  EU nations also must ensure that at minimum 10% of transportation runs on renewable sources as well by 2020.

The Directive lays out specific national renewable targets for each country.  It does take into account how far along each country is on the way to renewable energy sources.  For example Malta only has to hit a target of 10% but Sweden will hit a target of 49% of renewable energy.  Each country sets out how they will meet these targets and how they will go about it in the national renewable energy action plans.

Progress

Every two year the progress towards each countries national target is measured and published in progress reports.  There are also cooperation mechanisms in place among the EU countries and some countries outside of the EU as well so they can meet their renewable energy targets.  Some ways this cooperation happens is transfers of renewable energy, joint projects in renewable energy projects and renewable support schemes.

Climate Change

Most of the European Union energy policies are with the goal of limiting global temperature changes to roughly 2C above the average temperature of the earth prior to the Industrial Age.  The 2C is viewed as the upper limit on global temperature change that will offset global warming.  Some scientist don’t believe that this is a big enough measure to stave off climate change.  The UK’s leading scientist on the subject, Kevin Anderson believes that a change in temperature of 1C is really the upper limit.

Biofuels, bioliquids, solar power, and wind power are all instrumental in getting the European Union nations to meet their targets.  Biofuels are being used to meet the transportation quotas.  The Renewable Energy Directive have spelled out the biofuels sustainability criteria, that biofuels must be produced and used in the EU to ensure that they remain environmentally friendly.

Jobs

The renewable energy sector has also produced thousands of new jobs all across the European Union with the number increasing steadily over the past decade.  In 2005 there were 230,000 jobs in renewable energy while in 2009 that number had increased to over half a million.  Renewable energy is not only good for the environment it has proved beneficial to the economy as well.