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Europe’s “Renovation Wave"​ - Renewables in the EU

Europe has suffered heavily from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Energy demand has also dropped considerably in most countries, as entire sectors were temporarily shut down, and only now slowly showing renewed signs of life.

Much of this could have been cause for concern for the renewables industry, which ultimately relies on demand for electricity to underscore its objective of developing sustainable and carbon neutral ways in which to generate same.

In an unprecedented stimulus strategy of €1.85tr, which includes €750bn of fresh investment, the European Union is delivering on its objective of seeking to revive the tattered European economy. Moreover, in order to stay on course towards creating a zero emission Europe by 2050, it has made green infrastructure spending a priority. 

The “renovation wave” in support of the Green Deal, will promote renewable energy projects, clean hydrogen infrastructure, green transport networks as well as the revamping of buildings and infrastructure.

Allowance has also been made for a €40bn Transition Fund to allow for the re-skilling of workers whose jobs and industries will be adversely affected by the sustainability drive. This fund would also contribute towards the rehabilitation of regions reliant on heavily pollutant industries.

Similarly, several MPs and action groups in the UK are applying pressure on the Government to support a major green recovery drive for the nation. This portents well for a strong period of sustained growth for many aspects of the renewable industry on both sides of the English Channel in the years to come.

A portion of the spending shall be allocated towards a “Recovery and Resilience Facility” of €560bn. This is composed of approximately €310bn in grants and a further €250 in structured loans for the various member states. It is worth noting that a condition attached to this funding requires that a minimum of 25% of the monies must be spent on climate action. 

It has been noted that various environmental groups and affiliated organizations have been left underwhelmed by the announcement. This is in light of various MEPs having called for €2tr worth of investment previously. Certain parties, such as the European Environment Bureau (EEB), have noted that the plan fails to give sufficient focus to the ongoing destruction of habitats and consequent loss of biodiversity.

Whatever one’s personal opinion regarding the size and scope of this package. It is the author’s opinion that this significant undertaking by the European Commission underscores its commitment to its 2050 climate objectives. And towards making Europe both a better and more sustainable place for all.

By Gareth Foulkes-Jones

 

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Thank Gareth for the Post!

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jun 1, 2020 1:03 pm GMT

It has been noted that various environmental groups and affiliated organizations have been left underwhelmed by the announcement. This is in light of various MEPs having called for €2tr worth of investment previously. Certain parties, such as the European Environment Bureau (EEB), have noted that the plan fails to give sufficient focus to the ongoing destruction of habitats and consequent loss of biodiversity.

This is interesting, but it does underscore how not all 'green' groups are necessarily aligned in priorities and focus. Preserving natural areas and biodiversity is definitely important, but what these funds seem to be doing is looking to find projects that can spur economic activity and make progress towards climate goals. The intersection there seems to naturally be construction-type projects, building new infrastructure and the like, which is not always in alignment with purely conservational goals. Shows how hard it can be to thread that needle that pleases all groups, but also highlights the mentality of not letting the perfect get in the way of the good. 

Susan Brissette's picture
Susan Brissette on Jun 3, 2020 12:24 pm GMT

Interesting article. It is good to see the European focus on climate objectives. Would be interested to also understand how nuclear power, complimentary to green initiatives in reducing carbon footprint to meet climate goals, is being addressed as part of this. 

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