Renewables investors 'set to flee Europe' due to political uncertainty

Economic turmoil and regulatory uncertainty are pulling the European Union short of its renewables target for 2020 and damaging investors' confidence in green energy. That emerged in two announcements today at the same time as news the EU's wind power capacity reached 100GW.

According to a study by European Voice released today, investors in renewable energy are looking to the US and China following "sudden unpredictable decisions" by European regulators. Separately the European Wind Energy Association announced that the bloc's installed wind capacity topped 100GW. But it warned that "political uncertainty" could stall the 10GW a year advances made over the past three years.

European Voice said the EU "seems to have hit a bump in the road". It said investors have been made "nervous" by recent regulatory shifts in the EU citing Germany's recent decision to phase out subsidies for photovoltaics, and similar decisions in Spain, Italy and Portugal.

The EWEA wants to ensure major investment in the European trans-border power grid, as part of a single energy market. "The biggest potential show stopper for us is we need better infrastructure," said EWEA chief executive Christian Kjaer. He said the EU should to agree on a policy beyond the 2020 to spur further investment.

This was echoed in the European Voice report which said there were concerns in the renewable sector over difficulty in setting renewable energy targets beyond 2020. "In June the European Commission issued a strategy document that failed to answer the question of whether further targets will be set," it said and warned: "The European Commission will soon come out with guidance for member states on how to administer their subsidy schemes, but many in the renewable energy industry fear it will be too little too late."

·WWF Scotland has hailed renewable progress north of the Border, saying the country is "well on track to meet 2020 targets". It was responding to a Scottish government announcement that renewable power generation for the first half of 2012 was up 13 per cent on the same period last year.

Author: Paul Newton,
Channel: Policy & Regulation
Tags: Wind , Finance and Investment

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