Energy market reform


Energy market reform in Europe

European energy and climate policies: achievements and challenges to 2020 and beyond

For more than 20 years, the European Union has consistently been at the forefront of global action to combat climate change. It has developed ambitious energy and climate policies, including the target of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 80% by 2050.

As an interim step for 2020, the EU set a number of targets known as “20-20-20 targets by 2020” or the “3x20” policy. This included pledges to reduce GCHG emissions by 20% from 1990 levels, raise the share of final energy consumption produced from renewable sources to 20% and improve energy efficiency by 2020. This 3x20 policy formed part of a wider European energy strategy aimed at achieving energy sustainability, competitiveness and affordability, and security of supply.

The EU energy and climate package has attracted criticism in the last few years, as each day brought more evidence that the policy measures had numerous unexpected, or unintended impacts on energy markets and industry: an excess of intermittent sources of electricity causing disruption for grid operators, surplus electricity resulting in a price collapse on the wholesale electricity market, an electricity price increase at retail level, exit of gas from the fuels for power generation and the advent of coal as an electricity price setter… At the same time, it has also become evident that EU policy has failed to solve the existing EU energy imbalances in general. Ironically, after years of huge investments aimed at achieving the ambitious policy targets, a number of the objectives still seem to be a long way away. Indeed some may not even be reached, although the economic crisis has placed them within easier reach.

Energy market reform in Europe

This study aims to:

  • Evaluate the current achievements of the EU and a few selected Member States in meeting the 3x20 targets on greenhouse gas emissions, renewables and energy efficiency;
  • Analyse why EU policies did not live up to expectations in terms of achieving a more secure, consistent, competitive and ultimately cleaner energy market; and
  • Identify the main challenges on the way to the post-2020 (2030 and 2050) policy targets in the context of the EU’s ultimate goal of achieving affordability, sustainability and security of supply.

The study is based on global analysis at the European level and on more detailed analyses for seven countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and the UK). These are provided in dedicated country profiles (see below) in which Deloitte member firms present their view of where each country stands in achieving the 3x20 targets, the policies implemented and the remaining challenges.  

View or download the individual country reports:







United Kingdom

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