The European Commission (EC) on Tuesday presented its previously-announced European Wind Power Action Plan in a drive to speed up project permitting and boost investment and financing, whilst also beefing up the competitiveness of the EU wind manufacturing industry.
In a press statement, the EC said that the Bloc will need to grow its installed wind power generation capacity significantly, from 204 GW in 2022 to more than 500 GW in 2030, if it is to achieve its target of having at least 42.5% renewable energy by the end of the decade. In addition, it noted that while EU Member States added a record 16 GW of wind in 2022, this is still well below the 37 GW of annual additions needed in order to achieve the 2030 target.
The newly-released plan outlines the main difficulties obstructing the growth of the wind turbine production sector, including the under-utilisation of production capacities due to insufficient and uncertain demand, and the poor design of national tenders based solely or mostly on price criteria.
More importantly, it sets out 15 actions for the EC, the Member States and the industry itself to undertake so that, together, they can deal with those issues.
When it comes to permitting, the EC plans to launch the so-called Accele-RES initiative envisaging the digitalisation of the national permitting procedures across the EU and the launch of a dedicated online tool to support Member States in the process.
The Commission will also work with Member States to ensure the visibility and predictability of national plans for renewables deployment so that equipment manufacturers can have a better plan for their investments in manufacturing capacity. It will establish an interactive EU digital platform that details the auction planning of each country and will require that Member States make concrete pledges on wind energy deployment volumes for at least the period 2024-2026.
On the topic of financing, the EC intends to double the Innovation Fund’s budget for financing clean technology manufacturing projects to EUR 1.4 billion (USD 1.49bn) in the next call for proposals scheduled for November 23, 2023. In the meantime, the European Investment Bank (EIB) will provide de-risking tools and guarantees for EU wind companies.
The rest of the intended actions focus on areas such as improving auction designs, tackling cybersecurity risks, monitoring possible unfair trade practices, enhancing standartisation, and more.
Also on Tuesday, the Commission adopted a communication on delivering the EU’s offshore renewable energy strategy, with a set of actions specifically dedicated to offshore renewables. These include bolstering grid infrastructure and regional cooperation, accelerating permitting, ensuring integrated Maritime Spatial Planning, strengthening the resilience of infrastructure, sustaining research and innovation, and developing supply chains and skills.
Later this year, the EC is also expected to release a Grids Action Plan.
Giles Dickson, the CEO of industry body WindEurope called the Wind Power Package “a game-changer” for the sector. “The new actions on finance, auctions and permitting will speed up the development of wind farms. And crucially they’ll help Europe’s wind energy supply chain deliver the equipment for that. This is good for jobs and growth – and for Europe’s energy security,” he stated.