A European Union for Renewable Energy – Policy Options for Better Grids and Support Schemes

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The publication by the HBS office in Brussels - “A European Union for Renewable Energy” - provides a collection of innovative policy ideas for better grids and support schemes for renewable energy sources.

The Heinrich Böll Foundation commissioned a working group of experts from politics, industry, applied science and civil society who have considered these challenges. As a result of a series of expert meetings, the report ‘A European Union for Renewable Energy’ provides a collection of policy ideas for two key areas that will define the future of renewable energy development in Europe: grids, and support and remuneration schemes for renewables. The report shall serve as a stepping stone on the path to our sustainable, renewables-based future. At a moment of deep economic and institutional crisis in Europe, the vision of a ‘European Union for Renewable Energy’ is a positive project to give the EU a new push for integration.

We are now at a critical point in time to accelerate the transition to renewables in Europe and to make necessary investments and adjustments. Around two thirds of all power plants will have to be replaced in the coming years. At the same time, large parts of the European transmission and distribution grid require modernisation and are in need of reinvestment. With the phase-out of nuclear power in several European countries, opportunities to replace large quantities of nuclear energy with renewables are plentiful. With a feasibility study on a European Community for Renewable Energies (ERENE), the Heinrich Böll Foundation promoted the vision of completely covering European electricity needs through renewable energies through joint European action.

The European Commission’s Energy Roadmap 2050 explores routes towards a de-carbonised energy system. A greater share of renewables will strengthen all of the EU’s major energy goals and commitment to substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change. In June 2012, the Commission outlined options for the EU’s renewable energy policy beyond 2020. The future of grids and the development of support and remuneration schemes are key factors for the transformation to a renewable energy-based system in Europe.

As a follow-up to ERENE (European Community for Renewable Energy) this publication is the result of a series of working group meetings with renowned experts from politics, industry, applied science and civil society in Brussels.

The publication is available in English, German and French.

Product details
Date of Publication
Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, European Union
Number of Pages
All rights reserved
Language of publication
Table of contents


The Energy Transition – Challenges and Opportunities

By Franz Untersteller, Minister of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector, Baden-Württemberg



Part One

Remuneration and Support Schemes

1. Today’s market, its shortcomings and our vision

1.1. Starting point: From fossil to renewables markets

1.2. Optimistic and realistic: Setting targets for 2030

1.3. Design matters: Options for remuneration and support schemes

2. Tackling the flexibility challenge

2.1. The price of electricity and policy options to counter price deterioration

2.2. Power market integration

2.3. Ownership

2.4. Demand-side response and storage

2.5. Triple-A options for renewable energy investments

2.6. The European Investment Bank

3. What role for the Europeanisation of support and remuneration schemes in the medium and long term?

3.1. Front-runner groups

3.2. Cooperation mechanisms

3.3. Non-compliance

4. Recommendations

Part Two


5. Governance

Where we stand: Current measures to Europeanise electricity grids

5.1. What is necessary for the development of a European grid?

5.2. Responsibility for grid planning and implementation

5.3. Current legal developments in the EU

5.4. The potential of a European grid: The energy we want and the grid we need

5.5. ENTSO-E’s Ten-Year Network Development Plan

6. Elements for improved European grid planning

6.1. Coordinating sources of flexibility: Bringing the actors together

6.2. Transparency and participation

6.3. Using what we have: Best practice in Europe

6.4. A hybrid approach

7. Recommendations

List of abbreviations


Short biographies of authors, working group members and contributors