The European Commission’s directive on renewables is playing an important role in developing the renewable energy industry in Europe.

In 2008, the European Commission issued a new directive promoting the use of energy from renewable sources in Europe. It set a mandatory target of 20% share for renewable energies in overall community energy consumption by 2020.

In order to achieve this target, the new directive has set individual renewable energy targets for each country.

While the commission has set the overall national targets, countries are free to decide their preferred mix of renewables. They are required to present their national action plans (NAPs) based on an indicative plan of action to the Commission by 30 June 2010.

Considering that Europe as a whole was only meeting 6.4% of its overall energy needs through renewable energy, the 20% target is highly ambitious. The national targets would force member nations to adopt aggressive mechanisms that would help further promote renewable energy in Europe.

The country-specific promotional measures have played a vital role in the development of the renewable energy industry in different European countries.

The policy measures in Europe differ from country to country, with Germany, Spain, Austria, the Netherlands and France offering feed-in tariffs while Sweden, Poland, the UK and Italy are establishing mandatory renewable portfolio standards. Italy also offers feed-in tariffs for solar facilities and other small scale (less than 1MW) facilities.

In addition to this, different countries also offer other supporting measures like subsidies, rebates, tax reduction and soft loans for the development of renewable energy.

European Union, Renewable Energy Targets Set Under the 2008 Directive
Member State Share of renewables in 2005 Share required by 2020
Austria 23.3% 34%
France 10.3% 23%
Germany 5.8% 18%
Italy 5.2% 17%
The Netherlands 2.4% 14%
Poland 7.2% 15%
Spain 8.7% 20%
Sweden 39.8% 49%
United Kingdom 1.3% 15%
Source: GlobalData Europe Renewable Energy Policy Handbook

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