As a geographically diversified continent, Europe has an abundance of renewable energy sources. European countries have in recent years become leaders in driving the deployment of renewable technologies, with a growing ambition for an increased uptake of these technologies in coming years. Efforts to design more sustainable energy systems in Europe continue with renewable energy targets set for all European countries and the goal of the European Union (EU) members to “become the world number one in renewables”. Building on the experiences from the early 2000s that showed the importance of enabling frameworks for uptake of renewables, they remain at the heart of EU strategy and current plans to achieve a 20% share of renewable energy in energy consumption by 2020 and 27% by 2030.
As a centre of excellence for renewable energy knowledge, technology and innovation IRENA provides support to all stakeholders contributing to the ongoing energy transition. At the request of the European Commission, IRENA is developing EU REmap to help identify cost effective renewable energy pathways that could bolster the ambition of the region. The Agency is also supporting efforts to accelerate development of renewables in countries of South East Europe where apart from decades-old large hydropower capacity, the development of renewables is still in a nascent stage. The region is at a pivotal juncture as it defines the optimal energy strategy to drive future economic growth aligned with the EU sustainability strategy. In collaboration with countries of the region and the Energy Community, IRENA is working on a South East Europe regional initiative, which will support the creation of more conducive frameworks for renewable energy investment.