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Design options for cooperation mechanisms under the new European renewable energy directive
In June 2009, a new EU directive on the promotion of renewable energy sources (RES) entered into effect. The directive 2009/28/EC, provides for three cooperation mechanisms that will allow member states to achieve their national RES target in cooperation with other member states: statistical transfer, joint projects, and joint support schemes. This article analyses the pros and cons of the three mechanisms and explores design options for their implementation through strategic and economic questions: How to counterbalance the major drawbacks of each mechanism? How to reflect a balance of costs and benefits between the involved member states? The analysis identifies a number of design options that respond to these questions, e.g. long term contracts to ensure sufficient flexibility for statistical transfers, a coordinated, standardised joint project approach to increase transparency in the European market, and a stepwise harmonisation of joint support schemes that is based on a cost-effective accounting approach. One conclusion is that the three cooperation mechanisms are closely interlinked. One can consider their relation to be a gradual transition from member state cooperation under fully closed national support systems in case of statistical transfers, to cooperation under fully open national support systems in a joint support scheme.