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Assessment and optimisation of renewable support schemes in the European electricity market (OPTRES)

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The project was conceived to give clear empirical insights into the present successes and failures in the support of renewable energy sources for electricity (RES-E) throughout the EU, with particular emphasis on policy effectiveness and efficiency. It aimed to provide quantitative results on the costs and benefits of future policy options and to identify key barriers hampering the development of RES-E through in-depth interviews and an internet-based questionnaire. The questions the project raised, and set out to answer, were varied and included querying the impact of oil prices on the development of renewable electricity and examining the interactivity between CO2 certificate trading and RES-E support schemes.


  • Defining the effectiveness of renewable electricity schemes in the form of a ratio. This gives an unbiased, easily transferable indicator that can then be used to compare the effectiveness of support schemes for individual technologies in any given country. Using the indicator will help Member States develop specific renewable electricity sources;
  • The project examined the main national support instruments for RES-E in the EU on the basis of historical assessment and prospective, model-based analysis. Conclusions were drawn and a concrete set of recommendations outlined and published in the project’s final report, available on the OPTRES website;
  • Establishing that the primary concern of suppliers was for a stable support scheme and that the primary source of discontent was the amount of red tape involved in getting installation permits and grid connection;
  • Web-based questionnaire and follow-up interviews aimed at identifying the barriers to the exploitation of renewable energy sources for electricity production. From March to June 2005, 533 questionnaires were completed involving 251 organisations;
  • A series of thematic and dissemination workshops were held across the EU.

Lessons learned

  • The effectiveness as well as the economic efficiency of support measures for RES-E in Europe is very heterogeneous across Member States. The most effective instruments often tend to be very successful with respect to their economic efficiency as well.
  • Among the key barriers hampering a faster development of RES-E in Europe administrative and regulative obstacles as well as grid connection barriers are most relevant.
  • In the short to mid term the highest efficiency gains with respect to RES-E support can be achieved through an optimisation and a regional coordination of national policy measures. Last update: 10.06.2010

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Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V.
Contact point: 
Edelgard Gruber
0049 721 6809159
Thomas Erge
0049 0 761/4588-5337
Jens Pfafferott
Mario Ragwitz


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In brief

01/01/2005 to 31/12/2006
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