• Renewable Energy Directive
  • COVID-19
  • European Union
  • Climate Targets

COVID-19 Helped EU Countries Meet Renewables Targets

Agustin Roth
Dec 07, 2022

Solar and wind power

Coauthors: Corinna Klessmann and John Niedergesäss 

The European Commission (EC) recently published its State of the Energy Union 2022 report analyzing the latest policy developments in the European Union (EU) toward meeting the 2030 energy and climate targets. Along with this report, the EC also published its Assessment of Member States’ Reports for the Year 2020, which was prepared by Guidehouse. This assessment provides a quantitative and qualitative analysis of whether and how EU member states achieved their 2020 mandatory renewable energy source (RES) targets as set by Renewable Energy Directive 2009/28/EC. In particular, our experts analyzed the progress toward RES targets in each sector, the main policy and market drivers explaining the different levels of success, and the use of statistical transfers between EU member states.

COVID-19 was a key driver behind the observed 2020 RES shares. In an article for Euroactiv, Guidehouse experts Agustin Roth, Corinna Klessmann, and John Niedergesäss reflect on the pandemic’s massive impact on 2020 RES target achievement, as it reduced final energy consumption in most countries and thereby increased the relative RES share. An independent analysis by Guidehouse shows that at least six member states would have missed their binding targets without this COVID-19 effect.

As pointed out by our experts, “Looking ahead, these findings also have implications for the achievement of the EU 2030 RES target trajectory. … The wider gap between the 2020 targets and the expected resurgence of energy demand in 2021 and 2022 will make achieving the proposed 2030 target more challenging than the 2020 reached shares suggest. The member states and the EU as a whole will therefore need to take additional action across all energy sectors and push ahead rapidly with the deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency policies to achieve an efficient and fair energy transition.”