The ‘beyond2020’ project on future EU renewable energy policy involved researchers from a consortium of 11 universities and research organisations across Europe. The aim of the project was to look beyond 2020 when the current policy framework relating to renewable energy comes to an end. This large-scale project ran from July 2011 to February 2014. The project website, with information about the project and the final outputs can be found here.
Angus Johnston worked on the legal contribution to this project along with his project assistant, Ms. Eva van der Marel. This legal research was important in helping to adopt clearer definitions of what was to be analysed, making clear to colleagues and the wider policy community that there were difficult questions of EU law which would shape – and might constrain – what kinds and extent of EU-level legislation could be adopted in this area. This involved both matters of substance (like free trade and the scope of the EU’s legislative competence) and of procedure (looking at how measures are adopted at EU level and by which institutions), and the implications of these points for how any EU legislation in renewable energy would be developed, and would need to be framed and justified.
The main legal analysis which Angus worked on involved setting up an inventory of relevant EU law provisions and concepts, and then applying them in analysing the scenarios researched by others working on the project with a view to assessing the legal feasibility of pursuing different approaches, whose viability on economic and other grounds was assessed in other work packages. Angus also contributed to the final report on the project and the summary of key conclusions which can be found here.
In September 2013, a regional dissemination workshop was organised by Angus and Eva and held in the Law Faculty, Oxford with 45 external participants from different stakeholder groups including EU and national renewable energy sources policy-makers, decision-makers from the private sector, academics, and representatives from the renewable energy sources industry.
As part of the project, Angus and Eva co-authored an article which conducted the first in-depth analysis of the potential constraints upon the new EU legal competence to act in the energy field. This article analysed some of the difficulties arising from the wording of this provision and its attempts to safeguard Member States’ ‘energy rights’. The article, published in the leading journal European Energy and Environmental Law Review, can be read here. Angus is currently finalising a co-authored paper drawing on work from the beyond2020 project which considers ‘How binding are the EU’s “binding” renewables targets?’