Industry groups WindEurope and SolarPower Europe have asked the European Commission to come up with concrete measures to “unlock gigawatts of new renewable energy capacity in the very short term” and avoid leaving the population without badly-needed extra green power for two more winters.

The joint letter to the commission president Ursula von der Leyen came after the European Council – the summit of EU government leaders – called for specific and additional emergency actions over the energy crisis triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine that aim at limiting gas and power prices, including the accelerated deployment of renewables.

The European Council's demands in the renewables sphere were relatively limited and vague, calling for a “fast-tracking of the simplification of permitting procedures in order to accelerate the roll-out of renewables and grids including with emergency measures”.

WindEurope and SolarPower Europe in their letter went into far more detail on how the green power expansion could be accelerated.

"REPowerEU has been a step in the right direction with very concrete proposals to accelerate permitting, the main bottleneck to renewables deployment, and the solar strategy. Many of these proposals benefit from broad political support," the letter signed by WindEurope chief executive Giles Dickson and SolarPower Europe CEO Walburga Hemetsberger said.

"However, the current decision-making process reviewing the Renewable Energy Directive means these provisions will only be implemented after the winter 2023-2024. This leaves Europeans facing two winters with an unchanged regulatory framework.

"The crisis has shown that Europe is able to legislate with a compressed timeline. The Regulations on decreasing gas consumption in July, and on the revenue cap on infra-marginal electricity generation in September were each decided in a matter of weeks."

The green industry groups' demands
  • Renewables designated in the overriding public interest until climate neutrality is delivered
  • A population-based approach to biodiversity protection
  • Clarification of the scope of the two-year deadline for permitting new projects
  • A simplified Environmental Impact Assessment for repowering projects
  • Requiring Member States to hold emergency auctions for combined solar, wind and storage projects by 31 March 2023
  • Updating the Temporary Crisis Framework for State Aid
Source: SolarPower Europe