SIGNIFICANT ACTION to boost wind and solar power will be needed if the EU is to meet its targets on renewable energy.

According to a new report by the European Court of Auditors, although both wind and solar power have recorded strong growth since 2005, there has been a slowdown since 2014.

As such, it is recommending that the European Commission should take new steps to encourage Member States to support further deployment of both technologies.

The EU is aiming to generate a fifth of its energy from renewables for electricity, heating and cooling and transport use by the end of 2020. The wind and solar photovoltaic power sectors currently make up the largest share of renewable electricity, and falling costs make them an increasingly competitive alternative to burning fossil fuels.

The auditors found that the initial support schemes set up by member states to encourage renewables had been 'over-subsidised' in a number of cases, resulting in higher electricity prices or increased state deficits. After 2014, when many member states reduced support to lighten the burden on consumers and national budgets, investor confidence was dampened and the market slowed down.

“Member states incentivised investment in wind and solar power, but the way they reduced support deterred potential investors and slowed deployment,” said report author George Pufan. “The slowdown in shifting towards renewable electricity implies that we might not meet the EU 2020 target.”

Organising auctions to allocate additional renewables capacity, to determine the bidding price and promote citizens’ participation in the green economy, would be crucial for increasing investment, said the auditors. Also, additional improvements are required to improve conditions for participation in the renewables market, including overcoming restrictive spatial planning rules, lengthy administrative procedures and grid insufficiencies.