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Bringing Europe and Third countries closer together through renewable Energies (BETTER)

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BETTER intends to address RES cooperation between the EU and third countries. The RES Directive allows Member States to cooperate with third countries to achieve their 2020 RES targets in a more cost efficient way. The core objective of BETTER is to assess, through case studies, stakeholders involvement and integrated analysis, to what extent this cooperation can help Europe achieve its RES targets in 2020 and beyond, trigger the deployment of RES electricity projects in third countries and create win-win circumstances for all involved parties. The case studies focusing on North Africa, the Western Balkans and Turkey will investigate the technical, socio-economic and environmental aspects of RES cooperation. Additionally, an integrated assessment will be undertaken from the "EU plus third countries" perspective, including a quantitative cost-benefit evaluation of feasible policy approaches as well as strategic power system analyses. Impacts on the achievement of EU climate targets, energy security, and macro-economic aspects will be also analysed. The strong involvement of all relevant stakeholders will enable a more thorough understanding of necessary policy prerequisites.


  • Evaluation through case studies and integrated analysis of the impacts that the implementation of the cooperation mechanism in the studied countries can have in helping Europe achieve its RES targets as well as the associated co-effects (market opportunities, grid requirements, environmental and socio-economic impacts, etc) for both Europe and third countries.
  • An action plan to foster renewable energy production, transfer and use in the EU member states as well as third countries through cooperation initiatives highlighting its strengths, weaknesses opportunities and threats.
  • Policy recommendations with regards to: (i) the implementation of the RES cooperation mechanism for each case study region and for the European Union, (ii) the implementation of the joint project with third countries mechanism in general and (iii) the comparison of the third countries cooperation mechanism with the other EU internal RES cooperation mechanisms.
  • Practical guidelines for project developers to facilitate private sector involvement in the deployment of mutually beneficial renewable energy projects in third countries through the cooperation mechanisms defined in the RES Directive 2009/28/EC.
  • The establishment of a solid stakeholder network between Europe and selected third countries to foster RES cooperation and knowledge transfer, through the generation of knowledge and dissemination material and activities in order advocate in favour of EU RES cooperation mechanisms as well as RES deployment.

Lessons learned

  • Compared to the fragmented approach, potential benefits exist from the use of cooperation mechanisms. However, as of today, only seldom examples exist in Europe and none of them with third countries. One of the possible reasons for that is its associated complexity.
  • Within a third country, one can classify the various factors effecting cooperation mechanism into three levels (macro or government level, micro or private sector level and social acceptance or civil society level). Moreover, for the successful implementation of cooperation mechanisms with third countries, two and often three countries (importer, exporter, transit countries) must simultaneously be willing to seal the deal.
  • Importer countries (EU Member States) may be interested in the possibility of joint projects to fulfil their RE or climate policy goals, while third countries may be more interested in the potential revenues and the co-effects of these projects. Additionally, where physical transmission of power via several countries is needed, also the perspective of possible transit countries has to be taken into account.

Partners and coordinator

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Research Centre for Energy, Environment and Technology
Contact point: 
Natalia CALDES Gómez
+34 91 3466356


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In brief

01/07/2012 to 01/01/2015
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