The European Court of Auditors (ECA) will publish a special report “Renewable energy for sustainable rural development: significant potential synergies, but mostly unrealised” on Thursday 1 March 2018 at 11h30 in 23 EU languages.
ABOUT THE AUDIT
The auditors examined the link between renewable energy and rural development. In particular, they assessed whether the framework used to spend funds earmarked for rural development had been designed and implemented in a way that facilitated both renewable energy deployment and sustainable rural development.
The auditors visited five Member States – Bulgaria, France (Basse-Normandie), Italy (Tuscany), Lithuania and Austria – and carried out a survey of further six: Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovenia. They are expected to make a number of recommendations to the European Commission and Member States, as well as to the EU’s legislators the Parliament and Council, on improving the link between the renewable energy and rural policies.
ABOUT THE TOPIC
Renewable energy is energy generated from renewable, non-fossil based energy sources which are replenished in a human lifetime. Both production and consumption of renewable energy in the EU have been increasing, but further efforts are still needed if the EU’s renewable energy targets of 20 % final energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020, rising to at least 27 % by 2030, are to be met.
Using more renewable energy is crucial if the EU is to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to comply with the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Several EU and national funding programmes are available to incentivise the production and use of renewable energy. According to an independent study, around €100 billion of public money was paid in support to the EU energy sector in 2012, mainly from national budgets, of which €40 billion was for renewable energy.
The ECA’s special reports set out the results of its audits of EU policies and programmes or management topics related to specific budgetary areas. The ECA selects and designs these audit tasks to be of maximum impact by considering the risks to performance or compliance, the level of income or spending involved, forthcoming developments and political and public interest.