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President von der Leyen at the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue: 'There can be no back-sliding after the pandemic'



On 16 March, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (pictured) delivered a speech at the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue. During the speech, she pointed out the benefits for the European economy of the clean energy transition, saying: “We want to reconcile the way we produce and do business with the health of our planet. Because what is good for the planet is good for business and good for us all.” Speaking about the European Green Deal, President von der Leyen highlighted that the COVID-19 pandemic makes caring for the planet all the more relevant: “The European Green Deal is as important today as it has been before COVID-19. If anything, it has become even more important. There is increasing evidence that the loss of biodiversity is one of the root causes of this global pandemic. And while much of the world's activity froze during lockdowns and shutdowns, our planet continued to get hotter. Climate change is the massive crisis beyond COVID-19.”

The president insisted that the Green Deal and the economic recovery must go hand in hand: “Our European Green Deal is our strategy for sustainable growth. Now it is also our roadmap out of the crisis. One third of the investments from our Recovery Plan, NextGenerationEU, will finance the goals set out in the European Green Deal.” In particular, she mentioned: “With NextGenerationEU, we will invest in clean hydrogen as never before. Clean hydrogen is a perfect means towards our goal of climate neutrality. Clean hydrogen can: power heavy industries, propel our cars, trucks and planes, store seasonal energy and heat up our homes. All of this with almost zero emissions. Clean hydrogen is the way to go.”

President von der Leyen also elaborated on the steps that the EU will take in the coming months: “This is why, by this summer, we will revise our entire climate and energy legislation to make it ‘fit for 55'. We will enhance the EU Emissions Trading System. We will come forward with proposals to boost renewable energy and improve energy efficiency; and we want to take green financing to the next level. Because to achieve our 2030 goal, we need to boost green investment.” Finally, the President emphasised the fact that this must be a shared effort and that the EU is ready to lead: “We stand ready for global leadership on climate change with our partners. A shared commitment to a net-zero emissions pathway by 2050 would make climate neutrality a new global benchmark. That would be a powerful message in the run-up to the COP26, the next UN Climate Change Conference.”

The full speech is available here and it can be watched again here.


Germany to speed up wind and solar energy expansion




The German government plans to speed up the expansion of wind and solar energy by 2030 as part of its climate protection programme, a draft law seen by Reuters showed on Wednesday (2 June).

The new plan aims to expand installed production capacity of onshore wind energy to 95 gigawatts by 2030 from a previous target of 71 GW, and of solar energy to 150 GW from 100 GW, the draft showed.

Germany's installed capacity of onshore wind power stood at of 54.4 GW and of solar energy at 52 GW in 2020.

The climate protection programme also envisages funding of around 7.8 billion euros ($9.5 billion) for next year, including 2.5 billion euros for building refurbishment and an extra 1.8 billion euros for subsidies for electric car purchases.

The plan also includes doubling support to help industry change processes to cut emissions of carbon dioxide, such as in steel or cement production.

However, these financial pledges can only be approved after the German federal election in September.

The move comes after Germany's Constitutional Court ruled in April that Chancellor Angela Merkel's government had failed to set out how to cut carbon emissions beyond 2030 after plaintiffs challenged a 2019 climate law. Read more.

Earlier this month, the cabinet approved draft legislation for more ambitious CO2 reduction targets, including being carbon neutral by 2045 and cutting German carbon emissions by 65% by 2030 from 1990 levels, up from a previous target for a 55% cut.

($1 = €0.8215)

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Commission and Breakthrough Energy Catalyst announce new partnership to support investments in clean technologies for low-carbon industries



Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Bill Gates have announced a pioneering partnership between the European Commission and Breakthrough Energy Catalyst to boost investments in the critical climate technologies that will enable the net-zero economy. Presented on the occasion of the sixth Mission Innovation Ministerial meeting, the new partnership aims to mobilize new investments of up to €820 million/$1 billion between 2022-26 to build large-scale, commercial demonstration projects for clean technologies – lowering their costs, accelerating their deployment, and delivering significant reductions in CO2 emissions in line with the Paris Agreement. 

This new partnership intends to invest in a portfolio of high-impact EU-based projects initially in four sectors with a high potential to help deliver on the economic and climate ambitions of the European Green Deal: green hydrogen; sustainable aviation fuels; direct air capture; and long-duration energy storage. In doing so, it seeks to scale up key climate-smart technologies and speed up the transition towards sustainable industries in Europe.  

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “With our European Green Deal, Europe wants to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. And Europe has also the great opportunity to become the continent of climate innovation. For this, the European Commission will mobilize massive investments in new and transforming industries over the next decade. This is why I'm glad to join forces with Breakthrough Energy. Our partnership will support EU businesses and innovators to reap the benefits of emission-reducing technologies and create the jobs of tomorrow.”

A press release is available online.

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EU Reporter partners "All Things Energy Forum" 02-04 June



Starting tomorrow, Wednesday 2nd June, EU Reporter is All Things Energy Forum June 02-04 is an international digital stage that will engage more than 140 Speakers and 1000 Attendees in an interactive dialogue. This high-level event will welcome more than 30 countries to deal with six mega phenomena in a novel manner, combining approaches and contemplating interrelated impacts.

The event will span over two and a half days. The first day (02/06/2021) will host government ministers and high-level industry and public executives, in two introductory panel discussions:

  • All Things Energy the EU Green Deal and the Impact of COVID-19
  • Energy Projects in SE Europe and the East Med

During the following two days, Thursday 03 - Friday 04/06/2021, the conference will host more than 100 speakers in plenary as well as specialised parallel sessions that will cover all the aspects and challenges of the energy ecosystem. The agenda will not follow the classic lines of supply, demand, policy, technology, finance etc. Instead, a novel combinatorial approach will be used focusing on the links between 1. Epidemics, 2.Economics, 3. Energy trade, 4. International politics,
5. Energy/Environment policies and 6. Disruptive Technologies.

Key issues to be discussed include:

  • New Visions of Energy: Succeeding in a disruptive context
  • New regional perspectives: The role of gas in the transition to a lower carbon economy
  • What major technology breakthroughs are revolutionizing the energy sector
  • Dynamic resilience: Preparing for extreme weather, water stress and cyber risk
  • The business outlook for oil
  • The outlook for hydrocarbon economies
  • Megaprojects: Global impact and implications
  • Rethinking hydro: Powering tomorrow’s world
  • Driving innovation: The role of governments in the future of energy

Register here to join the first edition of #ATEForum2021:

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