On Tuesday 8 March, the European Commission’s Executive Vice President responsible for the Green Pact for Europe, Frans Timmermans, presented a communication outlining solutions to provide the EU with more affordable, secure and sustainable energy.
Against the backdrop of the geopolitical crisis and rising energy prices (both oil, gas and electricity), the European Commission hopes to address the emergency situation in the short term and to reduce the EU’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels in the medium term.
With regard to photovoltaics, the Commission proposes to develop a plan, “REPowerEU”, which would revise upwards some of the energy targets proposed in the Fit for 55 climate package. The Commission proposes, among other things, that this plan accelerates the deployment of rooftop solar PV systems to provide up to 15 TWh more this year. In addition, it announces that the communication on solar is scheduled for June.
Regarding financing for the solar energy value chain, the Commission envisages that this REPowerEU plan will channel EU funding towards new generation technologies, mobilisation of InvestEU or support from Member States.
Beyond solar, the main measures announced are the following:
– In line with the October 2021 energy price toolkit, the Commission encourages Member States to use targeted state aid and temporary and targeted tax rate reductions.
– It thus presents in annex guidelines on the temporary fixing of retail prices, as exceptionally allowed by the Electricity Directive.
– It does not propose a revision of the Electricity Directive.
– The Commission will propose a legislative initiative to ensure that 90% of gas storage infrastructure capacity is filled by 1 October each year.
– For this year, the Commission calls on states to meet this target now and to start building up reserves.
– The Commission proposes to develop a REPowerEU plan to reduce dependence on Russia. This plan is based on diversification of gas supply and reduction of dependence on fossil fuels.
– This plan would make it possible to go beyond the objectives proposed in the climate package “Adjustment to target 55”, in particular in the production of hydrogen, solar, wind, biomethane and the development of heat pumps.
– To accelerate the development of renewable energy, the European Commission will publish recommendations in May to speed up the permitting process.
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