The European Commission, the European Council, and the European Parliament have all repeatedly called for more regional cooperation in the context of the 2030 climate and energy framework and the Energy Union debate. Regional cooperation can effectively bridge the gap between national renewables policies and a Europeanised approach to renewables deployment. While multiple formats of regional cooperation already exist, a “quantum leap” in regional cooperation is required to address the further deployment of renewable energy from 2020 to 2030.
But how can regional cooperation be strengthened within the 2030 governance and how can it help to reach and even exceed the binding EU target of at least 27% renewable energy by 2030?
This is the guiding question addressed in this study. The result is a variety of policy recommendations for substantially enhancing regional cooperation in the Energy Union. Regional cooperation has the potential to strengthen the renewable energy framework. But it might also weaken it if responsibilities are not clearly distributed between the European Commission, Member States and regions. Emphasising the need for robust and binding legal frameworks, Silvia Brugger, hbs Climate and Energy Programme Director, comments that: “A light-touch and non-legislative approach, as proposed by the UK and Central and Eastern European Member States, puts the idea of the Energy Union at risk. Rather than granting maximum flexibility to Member States, the 2030 governance should contain mandatory provisions to ensure that all countries will meet the renewables target and fully exploit the potential of regional cooperation.”
This study analyses what types of cooperation could develop and explores how regional cooperation can effectively contribute to a European energy transition.