The European Commission adopted (6 June) a Communication on the integration of Renewables into the single market. It outlines different policy options post-2020. CEER has published 2 new renewables reports - one is the CEER response to the Commission’s Communication, the other is a CEER paper on the implications of non-harmonised renewable support schemes.
CEER’s response to the European Commission’s RES Communication
CEER broadly welcomes the Communication and its recognition of the importance of regulatory frameworks in achieving consumer protection, supporting investor confidence and removing market distortions. CEER believes that mechanisms to develop RES and associated innovation must be undertaken in the most cost effective way possible. There is also a compelling need for clarity on post-2020 arrangements.
Regarding market developments and costs, CEER believes that RES technology maturity should result in declining levels of subsidies overall. CEER supports the Commission’s view that RES should be gradually integrated into the markets with reduced or no support and should, over time, contribute to the security and stability of the grid on an equivalent basis to conventional electricity generators.
Greater integration can be achieved through 3rd Package implementation and the development of effective market design principles and mechanisms (e.g. moving gate closure times closer to real time), through liquidity in intraday markets and improved interconnection and grid capacity. CEER sees a clear role for regulators in creating an appropriate incentive structure for network development and modernisation, to accommodate new and decentralised RES.
Implications of non-harmonised renewable support schemes
In 2011, CEER launched a public consultation on the implications of non-harmonised renewable support schemes, in order to explore and better understand some of the effects that the differences between support schemes in Europe may have on investment decisions and on market functioning.
The CEER Conclusions Paper finds that, across the range of factors affecting RES support schemes, stability was felt by respondents to be the most important. CEER believes support scheme stability is a necessary condition for a cost efficient bankable support scheme and that transparency and predictability lie at the centre of this.
Respondents felt that certainty around a long-term vision for RES deployments (supported through legally binding targets) and the overall level of support (rather than harmonisation vs non-harmonisation of specific schemes) were the most significant factors affecting investment support for RES.
CEER believes that the lessons learned from this report should inform decisions taken on forthcoming legislation and during policy negotiations:
• the possible evolution of RES support schemes from subsidy-based to market-based (through possible linkages to the EU ETS)
• the potential for RES support subsidies to cause inefficiencies in cross-border trade of electricity
• the potential for EU Network Codes to overcome some barriers to efficient RES deployment (e.g. tariff differences and grid access)
• Greater regional co-operation is a realistic goal through initiatives such as the North Seas Countries Offshore Grid Initiative (NSCOGI)
• Issues of co-operation and trade in RES are not exclusive to the EU. There is potential to align EU systems with non-EU neighbours e.g. Mediterranean Solar Plan.
CEER intends to update (later this year) its report on RES support in Europe (first published in May 2011). That report marked the first time that CEER published data on the cost to consumers of renewable support schemes, broken down by type of support scheme and type of technology.