In 2007 the European Commission presented a white paper on an Energy Policy for Europe. The document laid out the so-called 20/20/20 targets for the EU Member States to be reached by 2020. It stated inter alia that the EU as a whole should increase its share of renewable energy in primary energy consumption to 20% by 2020. It also required the EU to become 20% more energy efficient and to cut CO2 emissions by 20 percent (compared to 1990-levels).
The RES Directive was drafted as a part of the so-called “Climate and Energy Package”, which was presented on 23 January 2008 and was adopted by the European Parliament and the Council on 23 April 2009. It entered into force on 25 June 2009. The Directive amends and repeals former directives on the same issue from 2001 and 2003.
In order for the EU to reach a 20% share of renewable energy in the energy mix by 2020, the EU Member States agreed on a burden sharing methodology, so that the Union as a whole would reach the goal decided in the 2007 white paper. The EEA EFTA States were not part of this burden sharing, which is an internal EU matter. Before the incorporation of the Directive, both Norway and Iceland had a higher share of renewable energy in their primary energy consumption than any of the EU Member States. In 2005 Norway had a renewable energy share of 58.2 percent, whereas Iceland had 55 percent. Their targets for 2020 will, according to the adaptation texts in Annex IV to the EEA Agreement, be 64 and 67.5% respectively. By comparison, the EU’s average share in 2005 was 8.5% (where Sweden had the highest share of 39 percent).
Liechtenstein was exempt from applying the directive due to special conditions.
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