EU leaders call on the European Investment Bank to accelerate the energy transition

EU27 Heads of State and Government met yesterday in Brussels to discuss the recent spike in energy prices. While endorsing last week’s European Commission ‘toolbox’ for member states to tackle the crisis, European leaders also invited the European Investment Bank (EIB) to speed up investment in the energy transition. The European Council concluded that the EIB should investigate the opportunities to further support the energy transition, to reduce the risk of future price crises.

The Council conclusions follow a joint letter, from European energy-intensive industries to leaders, calling for policy measures to support industry access to renewable energy. Eight energy-intensive industrial associations, representing the  paper, aluminium and chemical sectors, among others, joined together with SolarPower Europe and WindEurope to highlight the urgent need for policymakers to support the transition to cost-effective, reliable, renewable energy.

Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO of SolarPower Europe said:  “Last week, in their ‘toolbox’, the European Commission underscored renewable Power Purchase Agreements as a key tool to protect businesses from the sort of energy price hikes that we’re experiencing now. It makes sense that EIB now looks at how to speed up investments in renewables through financial instruments that support the uptake of corporate renewable energy PPAs. With these latest Council conclusions, we look forward to EIB support on increasing the adoption of corporate renewables sourcing by a wider range of actors, including SMEs. Today, solar is already insulating millions of Europeans from price shocks, but we must accelerate.”

Hemetsberger added: “Energy intensive industries are calling for EU leaders to adopt policy measures that will ensure industry access to affordable renewable energy. The current high energy costs endanger post-pandemic European industrial recovery, and threaten market capacity to invest in further industrial transformation. As the cheapest and most versatile energy source, we must accelerate solar to meet industrial needs.”

Next steps: The extraordinary meeting of the EU TTE Council (Energy) on 26 October 2021 will continue the discussion on energy prices. The European Council will keep the situation under review and revert to it at December’s Summit.

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