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Renewable energy: A more ambitious target is needed for 2030

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table-rock-dam-405x304The EU renewable industry is calling on EU policymakers to show more ambition for renewables in the future EU climate and energy policy and in the action plan to tackle the energy crisis. More than 140 participants joined the conference "rescuing Europe from energy dependency: the role of renewables" organized by the EU renewable energy industry on Monday 22 September, which gathered representatives from EU institutions, as well as energy experts from the IEA and the renewable energy sector.

A month ahead of the European Council, which is expected to adopt an official position on the Commission’s proposal for future EU climate and energy policies, AEBIOM, EGEC, ESHA, ESTELA, ESTIF and EUREC have sent a clear message to the EU institutions: the Commission’s 2030 vision does not reflect the potential of diverse renewable energy options, be it renewable heating and cooling or dispatchable renewable electricity. They welcomed European Commission President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker’s ambition to create "a Europe’s Energy Union to become the world number one in renewable energies".

The security of energy supply crisis faced by the EU today makes the need to strengthen the development of renewable energy sources urgent. Combined with energy efficiency measures, they represent the only sustainable way to increase EU energy independency, tackle climate change, and strengthen our economy. This requires, among other things, an ambitious EU renewable energy target distributed in national legally binding targets among member states.

"In their forthcoming decision in October, it is essential that Member States consider Renewables as a no regret option for the future EU energy mix, including alleviating our energy dependency," said EGEC President Burkhard Sanner. "The Commission’s 2030 proposal of a 40% reduction target for GHG emissions and a 27% target for renewable energy is merely the equivalent of ‘business-as-usual’. The RES objective needs to be revised upwards," he added. "For the EU binding renewable target to have an effect, binding national targets must be defined. We doubt that national voluntary objectives would deliver," added AEBIOM Secretary General Jean-Marc Jossart.

"The design of the future energy system needs to focus on the consumer, making them a part of the solution", said Pedro Dias, Secretary-General of ESTIF. "In this particular context, renewable heating technologies can provide more stable and affordable options to households and industry, while promoting local investments and jobs creation" he added. The Commission’s proposal also does not recognize sufficiently the potential of dispatchable renewable energy sources in the electricity sector. "While all renewable energy technologies have an important and complementary role to ensure a transition towards a sustainable energy system, concentrated solar thermal and geothermal energy, as well as biomass and hydropower can facilitate the integration of variable sources" said Marcel Bial, Secretary General of ESTELA. The European renewable industry urges EU Policy makers to take note of the outcomes of this conference as significant inputs for their future decisions.

AEBIOM is the European Association representing the bioenergy sector in Europe. The main aim of AEBIOM is to develop the market for sustainable bioenergy such as bioheat, electricity from biomass and biofuels (including biogas).

EUREC is the leading association of research centres and university departments active in the area of renewable energy. The purpose of the association is to promote and support the development of innovative technologies and human resources to enable a prompt transition to a sustainable energy system.

ESTIF is the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation representing the whole value chain of solar thermal from research and testing to manufacturers and service providers

ESHA (The European Small Hydropower Association) represents the interest of the hydropower sector by promoting the benefits and opportunities of hydropower at EU level.

ESTELA is the European Solar Thermal Electricity Association representing the industry of solar thermal electricity (concentrated solar power) from manufacturing firms to research institutes in Europe and MENA region.

EGEC The European Geothermal Energy Council is the voice of the geothermal sector in Europe, representing members from 28 European countries including private companies, national associations, consultants, research centres, geological surveys, and public authorities.

Energy

Technology Plan 2020 Conference

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Today (23 November), Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson (pictured) will participate in the Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan 2020 conference, which focuses on the theme of ‘Making the SET Plan fit for the EU Green Recovery'. Co-hosted by the Commission and the German Presidency of the Council of the EU, this two-day event will discuss the contribution of the SET Plan to the more ambitious energy and climate targets for 2030 and 2050.

Commissioner Simson will deliver the opening speech and join the high-level ministerial panel to exchange views on the EU's path to clean energy transition and the importance of research and innovation to boost competitiveness and keep Europe at the forefront of clean energy technologies. More details are available on the SET Plan conference website.

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Energy

Investing in new energy infrastructure: Green light for EU grants worth nearly €1 billion

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EU member states have agreed on a Commission proposal to invest €998 million in key European energy infrastructure projects under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). Financial aid will be provided for works and studies on ten projects, in line with the objectives of the European Green Deal; 84% of the funding goes to electricity or smart grid projects. The largest amount goes to the Baltic Synchronization Project (€720 million), to better integrate the electricity markets of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

Meeting with the Lithuanian president and the prime ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Poland to celebrate the funding to the Baltic Synchronization Project, President Ursula von der Leyen (pictured) said: “Today is a very important day for Europe. It is a landmark moment in ending the isolation of the Baltic energy market. This project is good for connecting Europe, good for our energy security, and it is good for the European Green Deal.”

Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson said: “These ten projects will contribute to a more modern, secure and smart energy infrastructure system, which is crucial for delivering the European Green Deal and meeting our ambitious 2030 climate targets. Yesterday's decision marks a decisive step in the Baltic Synchronisation process in particular, a project of European strategic interest. These investments will help sustain the EU's economic recovery and create jobs.”

Among the ten projects, there are two for electricity transmission, one for smart electricity grids, six for CO2 transport, and one for gas. The President's remarks at this morning's meeting are available here and a press release on the funding for the ten projects is available here.

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Electricity interconnectivity

Commission approves prolongation of two Greek electricity measures

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The European Commission has approved, under EU state aid rules, the prolongation for a limited period of two Greek measures, a flexibility mechanism and an interruptability scheme, to support the transition to the new electricity market design. Under the flexibility mechanism, which was initially approved by the Commission on 30 July 2018 (SA 50152), flexible power capacity providers such as gas-fired power plants, flexible hydro plants and demand response operators can obtain a payment for being available to generate electricity or, in the case of demand response operators, for being ready to reduce their electricity consumption.

This flexibility in power capacity will allow the Greek transmission system operator (TSO) to cope with the variability in electricity production and consumption. Under the interruptibility scheme, which was initially approved by the Commission on 07 February 2018 (SA. 48780), Greece compensates large energy consumers for agreeing to be voluntarily disconnected from the network when security of electricity supply is at risk, as happened for example during the gas crisis in the cold winter of December 2016/January 2017.

Greece notified to the Commission its intention to prolong the flexibility mechanism until March 2021, and the interruptibility scheme until September 2021. The Commission assessed the two measures under the Guidelines on state aid for environmental protection and energy 2014-2020.

The Commission found that the prolongation of the two measures is necessary for a limited period of time, in view of the on-going reforms in the Greek electricity market. It also found that the aid is proportionate because the remuneration of beneficiaries is fixed through a competitive auction, and thus avoids overcompensation. On this basis, the Commission approved the measures under EU state aid rules. More information will be available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register, under the case number SA.56102 and SA.56103.

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