WindEurope, SolarPower Europe and eight other key continent-wide industry associations in a joint letter have urged the European Commission to acknowledge renewable energy technologies as one of its key Strategic Value Chains when presenting the EU’s next industrial strategy in March.

“The renewable energy industry is pivotal in delivering the European Green Deal. Solar and renewables offer low-cost and innovative solutions to decarbonising Europe’s energy system,” SolarPower Europe chief executive Walburga Hemetsberger said.

“Acknowledging renewables as one of the key Strategic Value Chains in the next Industrial Strategy published in March can unlock our full potential, bringing highly skilled jobs and energy self-sufficiency, powering all Europeans.”

The Commission in February 2019 had already identified six industrial value chains as strategic – among them ‘hydrogen technologies’, ‘clean, connected and autonomous vehicles’, and somewhat vaguely the ‘low CO2 emission industry’ – and included its representatives in the Strategic Forum on Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI).

The IPCEI is a high-level expert group representing EU member states, industry and the research community in charge with proposing joint actions and investments geared at boosting Europe’s competitiveness and global leadership in strategic and future-oriented industries.

The ten renewables groups in their letter demanded the Strategic Forum to be opened to representatives of the renewables sector by the end of this year, pointing to the need to secure Europe’s long-term security of energy supply and defend its technological leadership in green power.

The industry is already a major employer, and could create 2.7 million jobs in Europe, up from 1.2 million direct and indirect jobs in the EU today, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

European companies such as Siemens Gamesa or Vestas are world leaders in the wind sector, and the EU holds 40% of renewable energy patents globally, the RE groups point out in their letter.

The other renewables groups include the European Biogas Association, the European Renewable Energies Federation and Ocean Energy Europe.