This report documents work completed for the Directorate-General for Energy (DG ENER) of the European Commission (EC) on energy subsidies and other government interventions in the EU. The work was done by a two-member consortium: Enerdata, the project lead, and Trinomics. It is the latest in a series of DG ENER studies going back to 2014 documenting energy subsidies and related instruments. The last study was also conducted by Enerdata and Trinomics and covered taxes and subsidies for 2008-2018 in the EU27 and G20. This study adds EU27 subsidy data for 2019 and 2020. Tasks 1-3 of this study involved collecting, documenting, normalising, controlling, and analysing subsidy data from national and EU sources. Task 4 compared this data to subsidy data reported by MSs in their National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs), and collected information on country policy environments affecting energy subsidies. Task 5 looked at how subsidy volumes (amount of payments) changed 2020 relative to 2019, the assumption being that the change was largely due to the economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic; in this task, we also documented MS policy response measures to the pandemic that impact the energy sector by cataloguing and analysing information from MS Recovery and Resilience Plans (RRPs). Some key takeaways are:
- Total subsidies slightly rose since 2015, reaching €176bn in 2019;
- Subsidies for renewables increased from €72bn to €78bn during the same period;
- Subsidies for fossil fuels increased from €54bn to €56bn. 8 MSs have announced plans to phase-out fossil fuel subsidies or are already implementing plans to phase them out. But among these 8 there is little more than general commitments to subsidy phase-outs; most commitments lack specific plans and timelines;
- Subsidies for energy efficiency increased from €11bn to €16bn;
- Based on an analysis of subsidies for coal, gas, gasoline, diesel, and kerosene, volumes of fossil fuel subsidies were down -9% in the EU27 in 2020 versus 2019. Decreases in tax expenditures for kerosene accounted for 60% of the change in 2020; this is likely due to a drop in the use of domestic aviation during COVID-19 lockdowns;
- A total of 520 green recovery measures were identified in Recovery and Resilience Plans (RRPs) of 23 Member States (MSs). These will contribute directly or indirectly to MSs clean energy transitions. The total investment value of these 520 policies is €237bn, of which 80% of funding (€189bn) is expected to come from the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), which was set up by the EU to aid European countries in achieving a green and sustainable recovery post-COVID-19; this constitutes 28% of total Facility funds.