Security of supply, affordable energy for competitive economies, and environmental sustainability are the three pillars of the integrated approach to climate and energy policy which the EU pursues. It has the objective of saving 20% of energy consumption compared to projections for 2020 and of reaching a 20% share of renewable by 2020. Cohesion Policy 2007-2013 addresses the intensive use of traditional energy sources, energy efficiency and renewable energies in order to make regions a more attractive place while promoting renewable energies as motors for innovation and growth.
In the regions falling under the "Convergence" objective, the European Regional Development Fund and the Cohesion Fund can support trans-European energy networks with the objective of improving the security of supply, completing the internal market, integrating environmental considerations, improvement of energy efficiency and development of renewable energies. For both Convergence and the Regional Competitiveness and Employment objectives an important ERDF priority is to stimulate energy efficiency and renewable energy production and the development of efficient energy management systems.
Renewable energy activities have a large potential to foster the economic development in the EU regions, creating new jobs and giving new economic and social development impetus. This appears to be reflected in the fact that Cohesion policy allocations to renewable energies for the period 2007-13 are five times higher under the Convergence objective and seven times higher under the Regional Competitiveness and Employment objective compared to the period 2000-2006.
In the framework programmes for 2007-2013, EU allocations of €4.8 billion have been made for projects in renewable energies (wind, solar, biomass, hydroelectric and geothermal), €4.2 billion for energy efficiency, co-generation and energy management and €1.7 billion for investment in traditional energy sources of which € 674 million is allocated for investment in Trans European energy networks in electricity and gas.