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Court of Auditors: EU is failing to promote renewable energy in rural areas

02/03/2018

Europe isn’t doing enough to boost renewable energy use in rural areas, according to a new Court of Auditors report.

“Using more renewable energy is crucial if the EU is to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in order to comply with the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change,” the report states. “Increasing the use of renewable energy could also reduce the EU’s dependence on fossil fuels and imported energy, thus contributing to the security of its energy supply.”

The Court warned that the European Commission should do more to ensure that rural development funds promote the use of renewable energy in the countryside. Among its recommendations is that “the Commission and the Member States should take the needs of rural areas into account when designing future renewable energy policy” – saying this is especially important as the EU finalises its RED II policy for 2020-2030.

While there are opportunities to fund renewable energy initiatives to facilitate sustainable development, the report notes, these projects remain mostly unrealised. The auditors highlighted the lack of “comprehensive up-to-date” information on financial support for renewable energy under EU and national funding programs.

Using sustainable biofuels like ethanol is one way to reach this goal since it contributes to the rural economy in addition to mitigating climate change. The report highlights that in a longer term perspective (2050), biofuel demand “is projected to increase significantly due to the need to decarbonize the transport sector.” It said the EU should encourage all energy initiatives beneficial for the development of rural areas.

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