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EU Commission Boosts European Wind Industry With Emergency Measures

Münster, Germany - As the expansion of wind energy in the EU has so far lagged behind the targets, the Commission has presented a new package of measures. The European Wind Power Action Plan provides, among other things, for an acceleration of approval procedures and for better access to financing for companies.

The EU wants to increase the share of renewable energies in the electricity mix to at least 42.5 percent by 2030. This requires a massive expansion of renewable energies. In the wind energy sector, installed capacity is therefore to climb from around 204,000 MW (204 GW) in 2022 to more than 500,000 MW (500 GW) in 2030.

Faster approvals, financial support from EIB, level playing field in sight

The wind power sector in Europe faces a number of challenges. At the same time, more and more wind power is needed in the EU to achieve the EU's targets for the expansion of renewable energies. Against this background, the EU Commission has presented the European Wind Power Action Plan. This aims to help maintain a competitive wind energy supply chain with a secure project pipeline that attracts the necessary finance and competes on a global level playing field. The Action Plan contains immediate actions that the Commission believes need to be taken jointly by Member States and industry. It builds on existing policies and legislation.

Among other things, the Commission addresses the acceleration of wind energy development through faster approval procedures. To this end, the Commission wants to place greater emphasis on the digitalisation of the approval procedures and technical support for the member states.

In addition, the EU Commission is striving for an improved auction design. This will help Member States to improve auctions by setting well-designed and objective criteria to reward higher value-added equipment and ensure that projects are fully implemented in a timely manner.

In order to accelerate investment and financing for the production of wind turbines in Europe, the Commission wants to facilitate access to EU financing for companies in the wind industry, in particular through the Innovation Fund, while the European Investment Bank (EIB) will make de-risking guarantees available.

With a view to ensuring a level playing field for the wind sector, the Commission is also targeting possible unfair trade practices benefiting wind turbine manufacturers from outside the EU. The Commission also intends to work with investors to identify and remove barriers to investment.

Furthermore, the Commission intends to work with Member States and the wind industry on an EU Wind Charter to improve the basic framework conditions for maintaining the competitiveness of the European wind power industry.

In view of the EU's targets for the development of offshore wind energy, the Commission has also announced that it will step up its efforts to provide targeted support for the offshore sector in order to bridge the expansion gap. Furthermore, the Commission is planning additional measures in the offshore segment, such as strengthening the grid infrastructure, accelerating authorisation procedures and integrated maritime spatial planning.

Associations welcome package of measures

The Verband kommunaler Unternehmen e.V. (VKU) sees the EU Commission's package of measures as a turbo for wind power expansion. "Municipal utilities and municipal energy suppliers welcome all points that support the rapid expansion of wind power. This also includes the prolongation of the Emergency Regulation on permitting, which enables faster permitting procedures," said VKU Managing Director Ingbert Liebing.

Permitting procedures should also be simplified at the national level - even though a lot has been achieved here recently and successes are already visible. Liebing went on to say that it was right that the EU Commission also had cross-border grid expansion in mind and wanted to facilitate it. It is also positive that technical standards are to be harmonised across the EU. This would promote efficiency in the market. If the various turbines are further standardised, this will also simplify the approval and authorisation procedures in Germany, Liebing added.

In the view of the German Wind Energy Association (BWE), the action plan contains a large number of good proposals to strengthen the European wind industry. "The actual effectiveness of the proposals will now depend on the concrete design of the measures," says BWE President Bärbel Heidebroek. In addition, an action plan for grids was announced for November 2023. The BWE also welcomes this plan. "As with the other measures of the Wind Power Action Plan, we are also looking forward to seeing how the concrete measures for grids will be designed, especially with regard to the topics of grid expansion and the removal of barriers to expansion," Heidebroek continued.

Commission action package drives renewable shares - RENIXX climbs

The announcement of the wind energy action plan has also been positively received by investors from the renewable energy sector. As a result, the regenerative share index RENIXX World rose by 2 percent to 1,022.95 points on Tuesday (closing price 24.10.2023, Stuttgart stock exchange). Among the biggest winners were the shares of European wind turbine manufacturers. With an increase of 7.7 percent to 10.57 euros, Nordex took the lead in the RENIXX yesterday. The Danish wind turbine giant Vestas ended the day up 5.7 per cent at 20.17 euros.

Source: IWR Online, Oct 10 2023