Using more energy from renewable sources is crucial to reduce the EU greenhouse gas emissions and its dependence on fossil fuels and imported energy and thus contribute to the security of its energy supply. Moreover, renewable energy can play an important role as a driver of sustainable development in rural areas. In our audit, we found that there are potential synergies between renewable energy policy and funds designated to facilitate sustainable development, but that these synergies remain mostly unrealised. The EU’s renewable energy policy is not explicit enough in establishing the conditions for linking renewable energy to rural development successfully. The specific funding available for rural development could play a role in achieving EU and national renewable energy targets, but Member States did not always prioritise renewable energy projects that could make a contribution to sustainable rural development.
Special report no 05/2018: Renewable energy for sustainable rural development: significant potential synergies, but mostly unrealised