Monday 24th October 2016                 Change text size:

Keep on track! Taking renewables to 2020 and beyond…

Photo: steve ford

Mike Landy and Nicki Darvill of the Renewable Energy Association (REA) introduce Keep on track!, which aims to help the EU meet its 2020 clean energy targets.

This piece originally featured in Blue & Green Tomorrow’s Guide to Limitless Clean Energy 2013.

The Renewable Energy Directive (RED) requires that the European Union (EU) produces at least 20% of its total energy consumption from renewables by 2020, while the UK must achieve a national target of 15%. With much debate currently underway in the EU in terms of what our 2030 targets should include, the REA has been active in monitoring EU and national progress as well as investigating and reporting the key industry perspective.

Keeping on track of our EU targets

The REA is proudly representing the UK in the pan-European project, Keep on track!, which is supported under the EU’s Intelligent Energy Europe programme and is co-ordinated by the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC).

The project, which runs from 2012 to 2015, aims to monitor that the actual deployment of renewable energy across the EU is in line with the RED’s trajectories towards the final 20% share.

Through a series of work packages the project intends to identify any emerging shortfall, both for the individual member states as well as for the EU as a whole, and the barriers that are preventing or slowing deployment. Using this information it provides policy recommendations and solutions to address the issues and in turn put us back on track as illustrated in figure 1.

Figure 1: The intended effect of Keep on track! in terms of tackling any shortfalls in the deployment trajectory.

The REA has so far provided Keep on track! with national statistics, supplied opinions on modelling scenarios, assessed the key barriers that hinder our achievement of the targets and offered thoughts and advice on policy recommendations.

This will be combined with that of the other member states into a series of annual documents including an EU Tracking Roadmap, an analysis of deviations and barriers and a report on policy recommendations. The first editions of these were released during the European Union Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW), June 24-28 2013, and are available online.

An industry perspective

Whilst Keep on track! aims to measure and monitor progress towards EU targets, the REA has recently furthered this investigation by assessing industry confidence in the outlook for the UK renewable energy sector.

Senior managers from 68 companies responded to the first edition of the biannual survey, giving an overall confidence index result of 47%. The REA believes that a score of at least 75% is required for the UK to have good prospects of meeting its 2020 target. The findings confirmed that there is clearly plenty of room for improvement.

As shown in figure 2, 68% of respondents had poor or very poor confidence in whether the UK will achieve its 15% renewable energy target.

Despite this and the other less-than-positive results, a certain amount of optimism was evident as respondents predicted that their turnover, new business and employment prospects would improve in the coming 6-12 months.

The REA is looking forward to seeing if these predictions have been realised and if industry confidence in meeting our targets has improved when the second Renewable Industry Confidence Survey is carried out in August 2013.

Figure 2: Industry confidence in the relevant statements. (Click to enlarge)

The challenging road ahead

While we await Keep on track!’s publications and future confidence analysis through the industry survey, the commission’s recent ‘Renewable Energy Progress Report’ suggested that renewables at the EU level have made a generally solid and promising start.

However, with slower than expected removal of key barriers, disruptive changes to support schemes, increasing deployment rates to get to 2020 and continued economic challenges, the outlook for achieving the EU’s 2020 targets is not so promising.

The REA also notes that when considering our national situation it is important to remember that the UK has to achieve the most challenging growth rate in the EU (bar Malta) in order to meet our 2020 target. With a required average annual growth rate of 16% we cannot afford to become complacent.

In light of such hurdles and limited industry confidence, strong representation across all renewables technologies is required to allow this vital sector to flourish. Policies need to be simplified and streamlined and mandatory national targets set for 2030 to maintain momentum to 2020 and beyond. 

For further information on Keep on track! please visit or contact Mike Landy at 

Further reading:

UK will miss 2020 renewables target but we ‘shouldn’t let up the pressure’

‘Renewables will win. It’s just a question of when’

RWE Npower director Nina Skorupska to lead renewables trade body

96% of the renewables industry apprehensive about UK targets

The Guide to Limitless Clean Energy 2013

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