EU pushes expansion of solar and wind energy, grid connectivity

EU pushes expansion of solar and wind energy, grid connectivity

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

The EU is launching a programme to boost local manufacturing of solar panels as part of the European Solar PV Industry Alliance, and connect up the European electricity grids.

This is part of a €210bn plan called REPowerEU that aims to reduce the imports of Russian gas to zero by 2027 and includes making it easier to install wind turbines.

“REPowerEU is a plan for saving energy, for producing clean energy, and diversifying our energy supplies,” said Executive Vice-President Franz Timmermans. “We will take short-term measures and we will take medium-term measures that will be completed before 2027.

“We need to speed up our transition to renewable energy resourcing. There is a huge potential for rooftop solar. There is a huge potential for on- and offshore wind.”

By 2030, the share of wind and solar energy in power production capacities should double, from current 33% to 67%. By then, solar energy would also be the largest electricity source in the EU, with more than half coming from roof-tops. This aims to double solar photovoltaic capacity by 2025 and install 600GW by 2030. At the same time, wind energy would represent 31% of installed capacity in 2030.

The war in Ukraine also highlighted the importance of the electricity grid, especially fro distributing energy from renewable sources.

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“This is a challenging objective, but feasible, considering our strong renewables industry and continuous technical progress,” said Commissioner Kadri Simson.

The EU also aims to double solar photovoltaic capacity by 2025 and reach 600 GW by 2030. The technology can be rolled out rapidly and the cost has decreased 82% over the last decade.

“We are triggering quick and massive PV deployment via the European Solar Rooftops Initiative. To underpin this, we propose to amend the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive to make solar panels on the roofs of buildings mandatory in the coming years,” said Simson.

However the regulations are slowing down deployment of wind power where suppliers such as Siemens Gamesa and Nexans are global players with STMicroelectronics suppling silicon carbide devices for the inverters.

So the EU is proposing amending its Renewable Energy Directive to simplify the rule at all stages of the administrative process, from notification to connection to the grid. It would also create ‘go-to’ areas, where permitting procedures will be done much faster in less than a year, suitable for areas with lower environmental risks.

This will unlock the potential of both wind and solar energy in the EU, says Simson. The North Sea Wind Summit, with the leaders of the host country, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium will announce a new phase of cooperation in wind energy.

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