EURELECTRIC is committed to achieving a carbon-neutral power supply in Europe by 2050. Renewable energy sources (RES) will play a major role in this low-carbon and diversified energy mix. To reach the EU's 20% RES target by 2020, about one third of the EU's electricity will need to be renewable. This represents a key investment opportunity for the power sector: our industry is and will remain a major investor in RES electricity generation.
RES cover more than ten different technologies with different characteristics - for instance, some are variable (i.e. not constantly available) while others are not. These different technologies are on different tracks to market competitiveness. Hydropower, a mature technology representing 17% of European electricity output, currently makes up the major share of installed RES capacity - and it has the potential to develop further. Other, more recent technologies such as wind and solar are expanding considerably. Their variability will transform Europe's energy system, both networks and markets. EURELECTRIC's Renewables Action Plan (RESAP) - a comprehensive industry strategy on RES development in Europe outlines which barriers will need to be overcome to integrate RES into the broader power system and meet the 2020 RES target.
Policy must promote the integration of renewables into energy markets and networks, encourage more flexible demand and ensure that enough back-up capacity exists to take over when variable RES cannot deliver. We believe that in the timespan up to 2020, policymakers must take several key actions to keep RES growth on track. Most notably, convergence of RES support in Europe will be paramount to ensure a cost-efficient development of RES technologies; so will the market integration as these technologies reach maturity.