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5 min.

The EU towards renewable energy and a sustainable future

A revised Directive on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources in the European Union 2018/2001 has entered into force on 24 December 2018, as part of the Clean Energy for all Europeans Package.

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The directive establishes a series of binding targets, such as the obligation for Member States to collectively ensure that the share of energy from renewable sources in the Union's gross final consumption of energy in 2030 is at least 32%, and the obligation on fuel suppliers to ensure that the share of RES within the final consumption of energy in the transport sector is at least 14% by 2030. The Directive includes an upwards revision clause for the EU RES target for 2023.

Member States have time until 30 June 2021, at the latest, to transpose the Directive’s provisions into national legislation, bringing into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions needed to comply with this Directive. Moreover, as required by the new Governance Regulation 2018/1999, Member States are required to draw up Integrated National Energy and Climate Plans (INECPs) for the period 2021-2030 outlining how they intend to achieve the target. Member States had to submit a draft to the European Commission by the end of 2018 while they have until 31 December 2019 to submit the final version.

Regulatory Stability: restoring investors’ confidence and avoiding retroactive changes

The Directive improves the design and stability of support schemes for renewables by requiring Member States to set a schedule of at least 5 years for RES support including the indicative timing and frequency of tendering procedures, the expected capacity and budget or maximum unitary support, and the technologies that will be eligible.

In addition, Member States will be required to guarantee that support schemes are transparent and competitive and are designed to maximize the integration of electricity from RES in the electricity market.

Finally, Member States will have to ensure that the level of, and the conditions attached to, the support granted to RES projects are not revised in a way that negatively affects the rights or undermines the economic viability of projects that already benefit from support.

Promoting Renewable Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs)

The revised Directive calls on Member States to remove barriers for the development of PPAs and to include in their INECPs the policies and measures that will be put in place to promote their uptake across Europe.

Enel Green Power has already successfully signed PPAs in some parts of the world, including the United States and Mexico.

 In the USA, for example, EGP’s PPAs allow large companies, new tech companies and even social utilities to achieve their ambitious sustainability goals, increasingly demanded by customers, shareholders and consumers. 

Streamlining, simplifying and reducing time-limits of administrative procedures

The Directive provides for mandatory permitting deadlines and ‘one contact point’ to guide applicants through the whole process of obtaining all administrative permits to build, repower and operate renewable energy installations and connect them to the grid.

The whole procedure, from receipt of the application to delivery of a binding decision, may not take longer than two years. For installations with a capacity of less than 150kW or for repowering existing installations, the deadline is set on one year. These deadlines can be extended to an additional year, if the existence of extraordinary circumstances is demonstrated and duly justified.

In addition, applicants shall be allowed to submit documents in digital form. 

Where will Europe go from here?

Looking forward, the European Commission has published a call for a climate-neutral Europe by 2050 with its strategic long-term vision called “A Clean Planet for all.” This strategic vision analyzes how Europe can deliver on the Paris Agreement and will allow the EU to build on its 2030 energy targets as it looks towards 2050.

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