The Renewable Energy Directive can drive a step change towards 2030 if it recognizes the need for intensified local/regional market facilitation, and focuses on mainstreaming renewable energy in the industrial sector as well as heating and cooling, 2 areas which were insufficiently addressed so far.
Illustration : by andreas160578 from Pixabay
Reaching the 2030 climate goals requires a policy step-change recognizing the drivers and failures of the past decade’s approaches. This step-change can be stimulated by REDIII if it enshrines in its provisions the need to support intensified market facilitation based on 3 actions: activation (informing the multiple target groups, including companies, of their RES options and value); support to project development (coaching during decision-making with technical and financial advice, feasibility studies, best practice transposition); support to project implementation (financial, legal and technical assistance, and post-project evaluation and monitoring).
Market facilitation performed by independent market intermediaries with public mandates such as local and regional energy agencies is an important driver behind the enforcement of the RED. This regional energy agency facilitation model has been behind some of the most ambitious regional renewable energy policies and programmes in Europe, leading to outstanding CO2 reductions, and billions of euros invested in sustainable energy.
We recommend referencing “local/regional energy agency facilitation model”: within the directive’s preamble; in art.18 on information and training as energy agencies provide facilitation services to multiple target groups including public authorities, companies, and citizens; in art.23 on mainstreaming renewable energy in heating and cooling as energy agencies are already supporting local/regional authorities to develop heating & cooling plants, using their knowledge of the local value chains related to construction, building their capacity to develop and finance projects.
Regarding RED’s increased focus on the industrial sector, competitiveness can be driven through energy transition by promoting climate neutrality as a KPI. Phasing out fossil fuels through energy efficiency and on-site renewables brings many more advantages beyond energy cost savings and a contribution to climate protection (e.g. productivity increase through better indoor conditions for people and machines, risk reduction for energy cost fluctuations, employer attractiveness etc.).
RED’s impact would benefit from a specific provision requiring the Member States to consider the advantages above and develop strategies for the decarbonisation of their industries.
Companies, where the energy/CO2 performance is monitored by the top management similarly to other key company data, are able to unleash energy efficiency and RES potentials in a very different manner. Creating management attention can be achieved through specialised facilitation methods successfully used for years by local/regional energy agencies in the public sector.