IEE project BETTER - Scenario viewer
Integrated Assessment of RES cooperation between the EU and its neighbours

5    Conclusions

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Article 9 of EU Directive 2009/28/EC - the Directive on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (RES Directive) - allows EU Member States to produce a certain share of the renewable energy to reach their national RE-target in another country. As thus far, this form of cooperation has not started off so far, the results discussed above are highly interesting as to what can be expected in the short and longer term perspective. Overall, increasing RES deployment in the three analysed regions and initiating or intensifying cooperation with EU28 Member States leads to mutual benefits. Concretely, these benefits become apparent in terms of the EU Member States importing RES-E and adding on to their targets for RES deployment at a lower price as if they would have generated the electricity at home.


Limited hope for RES cooperation with EU neighbours in the 2020 context, but promising prospects for RES cooperation in the extended geographical context in the mid- (2030) to long-term: The model-based assessment of prospects for RES cooperation in the enlarged geographical context shows that promising and economically viable opportunities exist to go for that. A large set of economically attractive sites for future RES developments can be identified within Europe and in neighbouring regions that are waiting to be exploited. According to our modelling works, it turns out that - if full RES cooperation across all assessed regions is aimed for in the medium to long term - among all assessed regions North Africa becomes the main focus region for cooperation. Of course, this is dependent on the form of deployment and the target set at EU level, which is shown in detail in the different sensitivity variants displayed.

Disaggregating the picture by region, the different regions show the following quantities of RES that could be exported:

- In Turkey, a strong and moderate target would lead to roughly the same exports of RES that amount to 47 or 43 TWh, respectively. A weak overall RES target would make Turkey a net importer even in the long term perspective up to 2040 (22 TWh of RES imports in 2040). In relative terms these scenarios make up a bandwidth of 5.9% (strong), 6.4% (moderate) or -3.1% (weak target).

- For the Western Balkans, the long-term (2040) perspective is as follows: a weak overall target would lead to net imports of 0.5 TWh of RES by 2040, or 0.5% of gross electricity demand. A moderate target changes the flow of RES and makes the Western Balkans an exporting region. Under this specific target they would export 5.9% of their gross electricity demand which amounts to a number of 5.9 TWh in 2040. Increasing the target for RES even further would increase exports by 5.2 percentage points up to a value of 10.7 TWh.

- North Africa, in the long- as well as in the mid-term is a clear RES exporting region, independent of the respective target set at EU-level. Assuming a strong target for RES at EU level, North Africa would export 485 TWh in 2040, 56% of its gross domestic electricity demand. A moderate target leads to an export of 415 TWh or 48% and a weak target to 360.7 TWh or 41.7% of gross domestic electricity demand.

The monetary flows resulting from this cooperation take place from the EU28 Member States to the three focus regions and take on quite substantial levels. In the medium term, i.e. EUR 6.3 billion would flow annually from the EU28 under a strong RES target by 2030 and beyond. This amount would be split among the partner regions. Namely, Turkey would receive an inflow of EUR 1.6 billion annually from this, the Western Balkans EUR 0.2 billion and North Africa EUR 4.5 billion, respectively. A moderate target would lower the monetary transfers to an overall EUR 3.3 billion EUR being transferred from the EU28 Member States to the partner regions. A weak target would decrease this amount even further such that EUR 1.1 billion would move from the EU to Turkey (a marginal amount of EUR 5.3 million), the Western Balkans (EUR 0.1 billion) and North Africa (EUR 1 billion). In the long term up to 2040, monetary transfers increase.


Turning the focus on the economic impacts of RES cooperation, significant savings become visible, manifested in a substantially lower support required for future RES expansion. Expressed in numerical terms, this would mean that under a strong future RES target (aiming for more than 32% RES by 2030) enhanced cooperation would yield in yearly savings of support expenditures for renewables at EU level in size of EUR 13.5 billion, or 29% compared to a reference track where RES cooperation is limited to EU Member States only. If a moderate RES target (i.e. 30% RES by 2030) is aimed, annual savings at EU level amount to EUR 12.2 billion on average throughout the whole assessment period, or 39% compared to reference. Assuming a low RES policy ambition (i.e. the current policy thinking, where a RES share of 27% is the set option for 2030) savings are smaller in absolute terms (EUR 8.7 billion annually) but higher in relative terms (60% compared to the corresponding reference track).

Regionally different impacts on benefits, i.e. in terms of CO2 avoidance and avoided fossil fuels, are furthermore quantifiable, as are changes in costs (i.e. support expenditures and system costs) and investments (i.e. capital expenditures). Capital expenditures (in total) can be lowered substantially with full cooperation compared to the EU only (reference) scenario, and a redirection of RES investments towards exporting regions is noticeable. Support expenditures in general are declining although a small increase of policy-related costs for RES in regions where large amounts of RES are deployed is applicable - at least in the medium term. Avoidance of fossil fuels and CO2 is of course dependent on where the RES deployment takes place, i.e. these effects are mainly distributional. Assuming increased domestic RES deployment within the third countries thus leads to beneficial effects for the climate and local economy - which were assessed in more detail in an analysis of concomitant co-effects of RES cooperation.


In conclusion, the results show a substantial export potential of RES with overall clear benefits in the assessed cases. At the same time, political, regulatory and technological barriers have to be mitigated and awareness for the advantages of RES created in the respective regions. Putting cooperation between the assessed regions and the EU28 Member States into action will aid in mitigating these barriers. It nevertheless requires concerted ac-tion from both sides to make large scale cooperation in RES deployment possible.

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