Despite the fact that the promotion of renewable energy sources is a key priority under EU energy policy and represents an important challenge to the Member States and peoples of Europe, given their need to become less carbon-dependant, there are major obstacles to this form of electricity production, most of which are caused by malfunctions in the existing funding system and structural problems on the energy market. In view of the above, will the Commission say:

What is its assessment of the various problems undermining investment in the renewable energy sector caused by the ‘feed-in premium with auctions’ system or the imposition of retroactive regulations governing the terms and conditions of renewable energy contracts, such as the selling price of electricity produced from renewable energy sources or limitations on the priority delivery of renewable electricity to the system?

— How will it ensure effective participation of renewable energy sources in the energy market without compromising the viability of investments or jeopardising the 2020 and 2030 targets?

— How does it intend to support financing of the power storage projects which make a vital contribution to energy security within the European Union, especially in south-eastern Europe and Greece, and which have already been included in the list of projects of common European interest?

Answer given by Mr Arias Cañete on behalf of the Commission

The Commission has recognised several times, and most recently, in the Energy Union Communication that a stable investment framework that reduces regulatory risk is needed for low-cost financing for capital intensive renewables. This is necessary to ensure investor confidence and to attract investments in a market-based framework that keeps capital costs down.

The Commission has published on 15 July as part of the Energy Union Summer Package a Consultative Communication on electricity market design which looks inter alia at how to build a market fit for renewables and how to promote renewables fit for the market. The communication will be followed up by legislative proposals on market design in the course of 2016.

In principle, electricity storages facilities selected as Projects of Common Interest may be eligible to receive co-financing for project preparation (studies) and implementation (grants); they may also benefit from financial instruments under the Connecting Europe Facility. However, hydro-pumped electricity storages are excluded from implementation grants. Moreover, all storage projects can seek long-term financing from the European Investment Bank, be it under its standard lending or with the coverage of the EU guarantee under the European Fund for Strategic Investments.