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EU energy & climate policy

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For over 20 years, the European Union has been developing climate and renewable energy policies. The cornerstone of these policies is setting targets for renewable energy generation across the EU.

The targets are supported by legislation covering all areas of the energy system, including R&D funding, access and functioning of power markets, licensing and permitting of projects, power grid upgrades and extensions, support mechanisms, etc.

The European Commission, the European Parliament and national governments are, now, reviewing this legislation to ensure that at least 27% of all energy consumed in the EU is from renewable energy sources by 2030. This will push the use of renewable energy in the power sector to at least 45% by 2030.

This is a further step towards a long-term objective of decarbonising the entire economy by 80% to 95% by 2050. Reaching this objective implies a total decarbonisation of the power system and the development and large-scale roll-out of all renewable energy technologies, including ocean energy.  

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Clean Energy Package

In November 2016, the European Commission published a number of proposals to reach a share of at least of 27% renewable energy in the European energy mix by 2030.

The proposal does not set a minimum target per country, but does oblige national governments to collectively deliver on the target. Moreover, national governments will not be allowed to reduce the share of renewable energy in their country below its 2020 level.

The headline target of 27% renewable energy by 2030 was agreed by Member State governments back in 2014. The specific provisions are being discussed by the European Parliament and national governments throughout 2017.

Ocean Energy Europe is actively involved in the process and works with the European Commission, the European Parliament and representatives of national governments to make the final legislation conducive to the development of ocean energy.

The final legislation will enter into force across the EU in January 2021.


Ocean Energy Strategic Roadmap

A strong Governance delivering the EU RES target for 2030

Small is beautiful – Call for a de minimis on the framework for small renewables & cogeneration installations

European renewable energy industry statement on the European 2030 renewable energy target

RES Industry Group Letter on Emissions Performance Standard

Four reasons why a post-2020 Renewable Energy Directive is essential to the European transition

© Sustainable Marine Energy © Sustainable Marine Energy

Electricity Market Design

The European Union’s objective is to liberalise the power markets and make them fit for the cost-effective integration of renewable energy. As part of its Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy Package, the Commission proposes rules to ensure that power markets fully take account of the increasing share of variable power generation.


Today, national energy market rules are still largely based on the requirements of energy systems characterised by large, centralised fossil fuel plants. By 2030, it is estimated that around 45% of the EU’s power will be generated by renewables, like ocean energy.


European legislation sets out principles and technical details for public authorities and power producers, as well as specifying the rights and responsibilities among the different energy players.


Ocean Energy Europe is working to ensure that new power market rules take into account the specificities of ocean energy. This includes advocating for more flexible grid management rules, fair pricing for grid use and priority access to the power grid and priority dispatch of power from demonstration and small-scale ocean energy projects.


Position Paper: A market design fit for renewables: key points on the Council’s general approach

© QED Naval © QED Naval


In July 2014, the European Commission published guidelines for Member States wishing to provide subsidies to renewable energy projects, whether in the form of investment aid or production support. These are known as State aid guidelines for environmental protection.

You can download the guidelines in your language, here.

Recognising that the guidelines can be overly restrictive for support to small-scale or demonstration projects that have minimal or no impact on a country’s power market, Ocean Energy Europe advocates increased flexibility for national governments in determining how they wish to support emerging technologies like ocean energy.

In particular, Ocean Energy Europe advocates using the new Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy package to simplify state aid regulations for small-scale and demonstration ocean energy projects.


© Orbital Marine Power © Orbital Marine Power

EU Emissions Trading System

The EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) is the world’s first and the biggest scheme for trading emissions allowances. The ETS requires businesses to measure and report their carbon emissions, handing in an allowance for each tonne of CO² they emit. Companies can trade allowances as an incentive for them to reduce their emissions. Trading should bring flexibility that ensures emissions are cut where it costs least to do so.

The current ETS system runs until the end of 2020. A new ETS for the period from 2021 until 2030 is being negotiated among EU institutions and should be agreed by the end of 2017.

Ocean Energy Europe supports a robust ETS that puts a high enough CO² emissions price to stimulate the decarbonisation of the energy system and Europe’s economy as a whole. To this aim, OEE works with the European Commission, the European Parliament and the EU’s Member States. In particular OEE is pushing for the creation of a fund created through the sale of emission allowances to finance innovative energy demonstration projects and technologies like ocean energy.