Renewable energy in Europe: additional support for the member states

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The Commission is providing additional support to the member states to further accelerate the deployment of renewable energy, achieve the “green deal” goals, develop cross-border clean energy markets, as well as reduce Russian fossil fuel imports.   

Renewable energy is an important component of the EU-wide plan to reach climate neutrality by 2050; this energy source is also central to the European Green Deal, as well as to the REPowerEU Plan and phasing out imports of Russian fossil fuels. Under the revised Renewable Energy Directive, the EU is aimed at achieving a 45 percent share of renewables in the energy mix by 2030, with a legally binding minimum target of at least 42.5 percent.
The acceleration of renewables is facilitated by a range of EU budgetary and policy tools, including the REPowerEU Chapters of the National Recovery and Resilience Plans and the revised TEN-E Regulation which supports the development of cross-border clean energy projects including offshore electricity grids.

Background
In the transition to a net-zero economy, the EU’s competitiveness will strongly rely on its capacity to develop and manufacture at home the clean technologies that make this transition possible. To make sure the EU’s economy is well equipped, last year, the Commission presented the Green Deal Industrial Plan and notably proposed the Net-Zero Industry Act and the Critical Raw Materials Act to support the domestic manufacturing capacity of net-zero technologies and the sourcing of the necessary materials. With regard to renewables in particular, specific initiatives were recently taken to ensure European industries’ competitiveness, notably the European Wind Power Action Plan and the European Wind Charter, as well as the European Solar Charter.
Almost two years since the adoption of the REPowerEU Plan, the Commission is today providing additional support to Member States to further accelerate the deployment of renewable energy and reduce Russian fossil fuel imports. The Commission has adopted a series of new and updated recommendations and guidance documents to improve and streamline permitting procedures and auctions for renewables. These documents will help to implement the EU framework for renewable energy by improving the conditions for a rapid deployment of home-grown renewable energy. By boosting demand for clean technologies made in Europe, this initiative will also help reinforce industrial competitiveness, increase the resilience of the energy system, and deliver on the European Green Deal.
Source: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_24_2489

Twin facilitating process
= First, faster and simpler permitting procedures: in the updated recommendation on speeding up permit-granting procedures and its accompanying guidance, the Commission highlights ways to improve planning and permitting procedures for renewable energy and related infrastructure projects in the EU. The updated permitting guidance provides examples of good practice on faster and simpler permit-granting procedures, highlights the importance of digitalisation and community participation, human resources and skills; and outlines how to best handle site selection procedures and network connections.
The Commission has also adopted a further guidance document on designating renewables acceleration areas. Under the revised Renewable Energy Directive, these are locations where the deployment of renewable energy projects is not expected to have significant environmental impacts and the necessary procedures are therefore fast-tracked to ensure quick deployment of specific technologies. Key elements for selecting such areas are the availability of digital tools for planning and mapping, and data on the renewable energy capacity and on the potential environmental impact. In its guidance, the Commission also highlights the role of proper stakeholder engagement and public consultation to facilitate a successful designation of such acceleration areas.
On revised renewable energy plan in: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_23_4754

= Second, improving “auction design”: as is known, the auctions play a key role in the roll-out of renewable energy and (if and when well designed) it can be supportive for the steady and sustainable economic growth of the member states. By outlining standard elements for the design of auctions for renewable energy, the Commission’s recommendation and guidance will make these procedures more harmonised and efficient, in line with the Net-Zero Industry Act. Presently, the adopted recommendation and accompanying guidance will help the member states to design auctions that take into consideration objectives such as quality, contribution to resilience and environmental sustainability. The use of non-price criteria will allow higher value-added projects to be rewarded. It will help to develop Europe’s net-zero technology manufacturing ecosystem and ensure that projects are realised fully and on time; besides, this will ensure that the clean energy transition goes hand in hand with strong industrial sectors.
To further enhance visibility and predictability for investors across the whole renewables value chain, the Commission has also updated the Union Renewables Development Platform, an online system where the states will publish basic information about their auction schedules. This information should include the timing and frequency of the auctions, the auctioned capacity, the planned budget and the eligible technologies, as required by the Renewable Energy Directive. The Platform will provide companies with a single point of information for all renewable energy auctions planned across the EU.
The publicly available information from the platform, such as a guidance document and a template agreement in: https://energy.ec.europa.eu/topics/renewable-energy/renewable-energy-directive-targets-and-rules/cooperation-mechanisms_en#statistical-transfers

General reference and source: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_24_2489

More information on the issue in the following Commission’s weblinks: = Recommendation and guidance on speeding up permitting procedures; = Guidance on designating renewables acceleration areas; = Recommendation and guidance on renewables auction design; = REPowerEU – Two years on – Progress webpage; and = REPowerEU – Two years on – Country-specific factsheets.

Legally binding energy-climate targets
The European Green Deal, presented by the Commission in December 2019, set out a new growth strategy for Europe, which has been aimed at transforming the member states’ development into fair and prosperous growth-patters coped with a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy with zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and with economic growth decoupled from resource use.
The European Climate Law enshrines in binding legislation the EU’s commitment to climate neutrality and the intermediate target of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030, compared to 1990 levels, hence the “fit-for-55” goal. The EU’s commitment to reduce its net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030 was communicated to the UN Climate Convention in December 2020 as the EU’s contribution to meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement.
As a result of the EU’s existing climate and energy legislation, the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions have already fallen presently by 30 percent (compared to 1990), while the EU economy has grown by around 60 percent in the same period, decoupling growth from increased emissions.
Source: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_23_4754

Commission’s opinion
= Renewable energy is a key to achieving the decarbonisation of European industry; it also represents an economic opportunity for the member states building on the EU-wide global leadership in a number of key technologies. With the present initiative, the Commission would assist businesses in the EU in order to speed up their investments in renewables and increase their roll-out across Europe. Thanks to the introduction of non-price criteria in auctions, the EU provides the national industries a chance to prosper and compete on a level playing field.
Maroš Šefčovič, Executive Vice-President for European Green Deal

   = Increased predictability and faster permitting are vital for the right investment initiatives across the renewable energy value chain. The present Commission’s guidance will help the member states to accelerate the deployment of renewables. As the EU-27 approaches two years since the adoption of the REPowerEU plan, it is important to give this extra boost to homegrown clean energy sources and facilitate the process of Russian fossil fuels’ replacement.
Kadri Simson, Commissioner for Energy

 

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