The Association of European Renewable Energy Research Centers (EUREC) published the report, “5% of new capacity from “Innovative’ Renewable Energy – A necessary and do-able enhancement to the Renewable Energy Directive.”
n the report EUREC defends the 5% innovative renewables target in EU’s Renewable Energy Directive (RED III). It specifically demonstrates that it is right to attend to innovative technology as part of intensifying push towards renewables, that the 5% innovation target well formulated and implementable with existing EU laws and by building on approaches already used in some Member States.
Why the European Parliament’s proposal for a target is appropriate
#1 An indicative target to give visibility to innovative renewable energy technology: The amendment of the European Parliament strikes the right balance between providing direction and flexibility. The Parliament’s choice of an “indicative” target is appropriate. The definition of “innovative renewable energy technology” is not watertight enough for a binding target but can be used to create lists of specific qualifying technologies.
Indicative targets have been an important tool to support the deployment of renewables, especially when coupled to reporting requirements. For example, Member States already have indicative targets in place for renewables in heating and cooling and must report on their efforts through their NECPs.
#2 Member States can define their own vision of the innovative character of a renewable technology: The European Parliament’s definition of an “innovative renewable energy technology” borrows in part from the language of the guidelines on State aid for climate and environmental protection and energy in 2022.
It includes the notion of market risk, which differs from country to country, allowing a technology not considered innovative in one country still to be considered innovative in another. In doing so, the definition of innovation leaves enough flexibility for each Member States to define its own vision of an innovative technology depending on its renewable potential, industrial strengths and the focus of its R&D.
#3 5% equates to a realistic quantity of new capacity: REPowerEU, based on a 45% target for renewables in final energy consumption by 2030, has indicated that 420 GW of PV must be installed in the EU to that date. Wind Europe has calculated that at least 290 GW more wind is needed by that date, according to the REPower plan.
Research commissioned since the release of REPowerEU by the Greens/EFA, separate research sponsored by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK), as well as in-house analysis by Solar Power Europe in 2021 suggest higher installations are possible. The Greens/EFA study puts forward scenarios that would lead to 56% renewables by 2030 and or even 75%.
The Austrian study estimated that depending on the stringency of energy efficiency measures and the determination with which non-financial barriers to renewable energy deployment are removed, a penetration of 45.1-58.2% renewables is achievable by 2030 delivered from 545-655 GW PV, 360-445 GW wind and other sources.
Solar Power Europe said in 2021 that double REPower EU’s ambitions for solar may be possible, and has since talked of TW-scale deployment. The Austrian study points to new electricity capacity of about 475 GW and new heating capacity of 280 GW (averaging between their four scenarios) to 2030.
5% of these big numbers would equate to a few tens of GW of renewable energy capacity. Research commissioned by EUREC shows that for PV alone, manufacturers have plans for 40-60 GW installations using innovative technologies made on European manufacturing lines by 2030.
Additionally, 10 GW of floating offshore wind would be feasible to install by that date. Single digit GW contributions would come from other renewable energy technologies.