Cooperation on Renewable Energy Sources (RES) in Europe is expected to contribute to energy and climate policy goals and bring multiple benefits at the national, regional and European levels. For this reason, the Cooperation Mechanisms of the RES Directive 2009/28/EC were originally designed to encourage the collaboration of countries and contribute to the achievement of the 2020 EU RES target in a cost-effective manner while providing Member States (MS) with flexibility to meet their national RES objectives. These mechanisms will allow MS to achieve their national RES target in cooperation with other MS and include statistical transfers, joint projects and joint support schemes. However, their use has been limited, leading to skepticism about their future use. The aim of this article is to identify the factors that influence MS decision to use the Cooperation Mechanisms and to rank their importance. The empirical analysis is based on a comprehensive, in-depth literature review and a dedicated survey to MS. Our results show that, indeed, a wide array of drivers and barriers have influenced and will influence the future use of the Cooperation Mechanisms. The main drivers and barriers in the past significantly differ to those influencing the future use. Furthermore, the perception of the relevance of the drivers and barriers by the MS differs depending on whether the countries have already met or are having difficulties to meet their 2020 RES target domestically and on whether they have actually used the Cooperation Mechanisms or not. Some policy implications on how to overcome the existing barriers to the use of those mechanisms are derived from the analysis.
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