BRUSSELS, Belgium (Friday 21 October 2022): Yesterday evening European leaders agreed on a new set of measures to tackle the energy crisis.
SolarPower Europe is particularly pleased to see the European Council finally calling for emergency measures to accelerate renewable energy deployment. Renewables are the only way to address the root cause of the crisis – Europe’s fossil fuel dependency – and to provide durable solutions to Europe’s energy security, competitiveness, and climate goals.
The ball is now in the European Commission’s court to develop this package. Today, SolarPower Europe and WindEurope have sent a joint letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, suggesting measures that would unlock GWs of new renewable energy capacity in the very short term.
In the letter, we call on the European Commission to table a Regulation under article 122 enshrining the following principles:
- Renewables being in the overriding public interest until climate neutrality is delivered;
- A population-based approach to biodiversity protection;
- Clarification of the scope of the 2-year deadline for permitting new projects: including the grid connection permit, and the approval of the Environmental Impact Assessment;
- A simplified Environmental Impact Assessment for repowering renewable energy projects;
- Requiring Member States to hold emergency auctions for combined solar, wind and storage projects by 31 March 2023 – as this will reduce the times that gas fired power plants set the price of electricity; and
- Update the Temporary Crisis Framework for State Aid, setting the obligation for rooftop PV to go through tenders to above 3 MW instead of the current limit of 1 MW.
SolarPower Europe also takes note of the European Council ask for a temporary EU framework to cap the price of gas in electricity generation (the so-called Iberian exemption). We would emphasise that the impacts of this mechanism are now well understood and documented, especially where we see the increase in use of gas for electricity, at a time when reducing gas demand is of paramount importance. We stand ready to discuss this with European Energy Ministers and the European Commission.