Foreign direct investment and the EU’s Renewable Energy Policy

Nikolaos Giannopoulos, PhD Candidate in international law at Utrecht University, gave a presentation on changing support schemes on renewable energy in the EU.

Giannopoulos, spoke on the influcence of RED II on foreign direct investments during the “Expert Dialogue: Enhancing Sustainability in International Trade: Assessing the EU’s Renewable Energy Policy”, which took place at Utrecht University on the 26th of September. In particular, he discussed the interaction between the EU rules on the promotion of renewable energy consumption and the international rules on the protection of foreign investments in renewable energy infrastructure in Europe.


The promotion of renewable energy is at the heart of EU’s environmental and climate policy. In an effort to meet the national binding renewable energy targets under the 2009 Renewable Energy Directive, several EU States offered economic incentives to attract investments in renewable energy production activities. Such economic support schemes were deemed indispensable to stimulate private investments in innovative renewable energy generation technologies. 

However, due to changed circumstances, EU States modified their renewable energy support schemes with substantial repercussions for investors who had relied upon them. Those legislative changes resulted in the surfacing of numerous disputes before international investment tribunals, where investors claimed that the alterations in the regulatory regime governing their investments violated investment protection commitments of EU States under international investment agreements.

In light of these investment disputes, the presentation examined whether the recast Renewable Energy Directive has incorporated rules to improve renewable energy support schemes to safeguard the necessary investment stability and prevent similar disputes in the future.