4 October 2012 – According to a report released by EuropeanVoice, Europe, long a leader in renewable energy technology, seems to have hit a bump in the road. Recent decisions by companies such as First Solar to close production facilities in Europe because of a lack of regulatory certainty have sparked concern that Europe is about to lose its edge to China and the United States.
Germany’s recent decision to phase out subsidies for photovoltaic power, along with similar decisions in Spain, Italy and Portugal, has made investors nervous. The European Commission will soon come out with guidance for member states on how to administer their subsidy schemes, but many in the renewable energy industry fear it will be too little too late.
There is increasing criticism that the commission has not been closely involved in coordinating a more predictable pan-EU regulatory environment, resulting in sudden, unpredictable decisions on subsidies by member states.
There are also concerns across the renewable sectors about the difficulty in setting renewable energy targets beyond the existing 2020 target. In June the commission issued a strategy document that failed to answer the question of whether further targets will be set. Certain member states such as Poland have fiercely resisted setting any further targets.