RES Directive

In March 2007, the Heads of State and Government of the EU 27 countries adopted a binding target of 20% final energy consumption from renewable energy by 2020.

In January 2008, the European Commission presented a draft Directive on the promotion of the use of energy from Renewable Energy Sources (RES) which contains a series of elements to create the necessary legislative framework for making 20% renewable energy become a reality.

After the European Parliament and the Council agreed upon the RES Directive in December 2008, it entered into force in June 2009. If properly transposed into national law, the RES Directive will become the most ambitious piece of legislation on renewable energy in the world.

Heating and Cooling from Renewable Energy Sources

As far as heating and cooling is concerned, the RES Directive closes the legislative gap which existed so far for this sector. For the first time, heating and cooling – responsible for nearly half of Europe’s energy demand – will be covered by a Europe Directive promoting renewable energies. Thus the RES Directive creates a positive climate for the long-term development of solar thermal technologies in Europe.

Please click here to access the text of the RES Directive.

The National Renewable Energy Action Plans (NREAPs)

Directive 2009/28/EC requires each Member State to adopt a national renewable energy action plan. These plans are to set out Member States’ national targets for the share of energy from renewable sources consumed in transport, electricity and heating and cooling in 2020 and adequate measures to achieve these targets.

Each Member State is required to submit a National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP) to the European Commission by 30 June 2010.

To download the National Renewable Action Plan Template, please click here.

For a proper transposition of the RES Directive into national law Ambitious national growth targets for solar thermal installed capacity by 2020 according to the specific potential and current market development of each Member State. To reach these targets, Member States should be required to implement renewable energy obligations for new buildings and for buildings undergoing renovation. The building sector is key to tackling the heating and cooling sector, which accounts for nearly half of the final energy demand in Europe.

Furthermore, the NREAPs plans foreseen in the RES Directive proposal must encourage national, regional and local authorities to implement one or several additional instruments to promote solar thermal:

  • Financial incentives to investment or fiscal reductions. These measures should be targeted at non-obliged market segments – e.g. solar thermal for industrial processes – or for solar thermal installations in buildings which go beyond the minimum requirements of the renewable energy obligations for new and renovated buildings. These financial measures should be stable and long-term oriented, in order to build up confidence with investors.
  • Awareness raising campaigns supported by public authorities and focused to relevant target groups: end users (house owners, operators of high-potential applications such as hotels, swimming pools, collective buildings), architects, craftsmen (heating installers and roofers), building & construction industry
  • Support specific training for solar thermal technologies, focused on key professional actors: planners, architects, heating installers and roofers

Key Dates

30 June 2009 Publication of the template for the National Renewable Action Plans by the European Commission
December 2009 Member States “forecast documents” on the scope of making or receiving transfers of renewable energy under the cooperation mechanisms
30 June 2010 Member States must submit their National Renewable Action Plans to the European Commission
25 December 2010 Completion of the Directive implementation by the 27 EU Members States
2011 First biennial report of each Member State
2012 First biennial report of the European Commission

More information
The European Commission has established an online portal, the so-called Transparency Platform, in order to present latest information on the RES Directive and its implementation at national level. Click here to access it