EU must consider becoming 100% reliant on renewable energy by 2050

The European Union needs to commit to developing a long-term strategy that enables renewable energy to become a "real competitor past 2020", according to The Committee of Regions (CoR).

Proposals set out by the Committee call for a support scheme for renewable energy and argue that only by taking a coordinated approach at EU-level, coupled with sound investment, can environmental targets be achieved.

Despite EU Member States being committed to ensuring that renewable energy constitutes 20% of the entire energy mix by 2020, The Committee has called for a full review of the EU’s strategy after 2020, raising concerns that current plans are short-sighted.

It also stressed that there is a growing urgency to ensure a far more coherent approach to delivering a truly sustainable energy sector.

The CoR argues that a shared European strategy is needed that makes careful use of subsidies and optimises the use of regional cooperation to encourage Member States and local authorities to continue down the right path.

Rapporteur for the CoR and Polish politician Witold Stepien said: “As in the future renewable energy sources will constitute a considerable share of energy consumed by the European society, it is crucial to ensure their coordinated development.

“Furthermore, no significant increase in the share of renewable energy sources will be possible unless current support schemes are improved. The key elements in the future development of renewable energy sources will involve coordinated subsidy schemes to support investment enabling the operation on a competitive market, increasing the role of the regions in the distribution of funds allocated to support renewable energy, creation of centres of renewable energy in the regions to allow for the transfer of local know-how,” he added.

The proposals come weeks after industry figures found that Solar PV deployment in Europe fell 27% in 2012 to 17 gigawatt (GW) from a record 23GW in 2011.

In 2012, the market for PV in Europe decreased for the first time since 2006, dropping well below the record achieved in 2011 of 22.7GW.

Leigh Stringer

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie