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Barriers and EU Action

There are many barriers preventing electricity from renewable energy sources being integrated into the European electricity market. This chapter is written from a developer’s point of view, and describes these barriers, taking four EU Member States as case studies. Barriers are related to issues such as obtaining building permits, spatial planning licences and grid access. There are often unclear, or unnecessarily complex, administrative and financial procedures.

Such problems are to be found in every Member State, but their impact on the deployment of renewable energy differs depending on the country. There are also grid connection obstacles, which can discourage investment in wind energy, as well as preventing it from achieving competitiveness with other power-generating technologies.

The European Commission has recognised the importance of the issue, and addresses administrative barriers in Article 6 of Directive 2001/77/EC on the promotion of electricity produced from renewable energy sources in the internal electricity market. It has also raised the issue more recently in its proposed Directive 2008/0016 (COD): energy and climate change: promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources, and in its Communications 2004/366 and 2005/627.

In order to develop effective policy and regulatory improvements, EU studies in form of research and innovation activities address and evaluate these obstacles. Under the Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development (FP7) 60 projects have been carried out so far. The Intelligent Energy Programme (IEE) accounts for 13 projects in which EU officials work together with experts from the renewable energy industry. The following brief account of barriers is based on two comprehensive studies conducted by the Intelligent Energy-Europe programme: a) the Assesment and Optimisation of Renewable Support Schemes in the European Electricity Market - OPTRES (2005-2006), is an analysis of the main barriers for the development of RES-E in the EU-25 and b) the Promotion and Growth of Renewable Energy Sources and Systems - PROGRESS (2006-2008) focuses on authorisation and grid barriers.

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