More than 1,000 ‘shovel-ready’ green projects that require some €200bn ($235bn) in public and private investments could immediately create social, environmental and economic value as part of a recovery from the economic slump caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, a report by Ernst and Young found.
The investment would also support 2.8m jobs, the report titled ‘A Green Covid-19 Recovery and Resilience Plan for Europe’ and funded by the European Climate Foundation said. Utility federation Eurelectric and European wind, solar and hydrogen industry groups provided input for the study.
On its list, EY only included projects in energy, transport, buildings, industry and land use in the EU’s 27 member states (without the UK) that are expected to reach a financial close within the next 24 months, and only need “a last push” such as additional financing or overcoming other barriers (ie. regulatory, administrative, commercial). The consulting firm said it had checked close to 2,000 projects.
“This list of projects EY has uncovered was put together in just over four weeks, and illustrates the huge project pipeline that exists across all European countries to underpin a green and resilient recovery from the Covid-19 economic crisis,” EY said in a summary.
“Overall, we consider that we are capturing only 10% of green projects currently under development.”
Italy’s Enel Group features prominently on the 'shovel-ready' list, with a €400m project for a PV ‘3SUN’ module gigafactory in is home market that would expand the utility’s 200MW/year panel production capacity in Sicily to more than 3GW annually, using hetero junction technology.
Enel’s Spanish Endesa unit is also mentioned, with a €1.4bn project in Teruel to substitute and convert a coal-fired power plant with 1.59GW of solar and 140MW of wind plants, as well as a 160MW battery storage system.
The list of 1,000 projects also includes the HYBRIT project in northern Sweden by Vattenfall, SSAB, and LKAB to produce fossil free steel, a €1bn plan by LG CHEM for an electric vehicle battery gigafactory in Poland, a €98m project for a green hydrogen plant (H2V) at the Port- Jérôme in France, and a €553m offshore wind project in Estonia by Tuuletraal.
Renewable generation projects (36%), transmission and distribution (7%), energy storage and system services (4%), green hydrogen (5%) jointly make up more than half of all projects identified.
EY reckons €75bn need to be invested in 374 projects in renewable energy generation, storage, transmission and distribution, as well as district heating and cooling.
The services and consulting firm recommended to simplify and shorten permitting procedures for renewable projects, prioritise public investments in power grid upgrades, and provide better visibility on auctions.
The European Commission in May had proposed a €750bn stimulus package to counter the Covid-related economic plunge, and wants its European Green Deal to be one of the drivers of the recovery.