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Member States call for an EU industrial policy for renewables

Ministers from Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Greece, Spain, Austria and Luxemburg are calling for an EU industrial policy to expand renewables supply chains in Europe in a letter to Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton and Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson, according to Brussels-based association WindEurope.

The signatories emphasise that the expansion of renewable energies would create new opportunities in terms of growth, investments, job creation and innovation in Europe. They urge the EU Commission to recognise wind energy as a priority strategic European value chain.

The letter calls for renewable industry representatives to be included in the planned Industrial Forum, a high-level advisory body bringing together Member States, European institutions and industry stakeholders that is due to be established in September.

To achieve the EU Green Deal objective of climate neutrality by 2050, Europe will need to invest over 2 trillion euros in wind and solar capacities in the next 30 years. The Ministers are requesting more support for renewables from EU funds such as InvestEU and the Connecting Europe Facility and a more flexible approach to State Aid.

“When Ministers from Poland, Greece, Spain, Austria, the Benelux and all the three Baltic States say they want an industrial policy for wind and solar, you know it’s now crystal clear to all: the transition to renewables is good for jobs and growth, ” said Giles Dickson, CEO of WindEurope.

“Seventeen EU Member States were already calling for a green recovery plan,” continued Mr Dickson referring to the joint letter of European ministers urging Europe to keep its eyes on the challenges of climate change when designing long-term strategies for a resilient recovery from the pandemic.

“Now another broad alliance is highlighting the strategic economic importance of Europe’s renewables industries and the need for the EU to support them. We look forward to Brussels taking the decisive action they demand,” he added.

The von der Leyen Commission unveiled its new Industrial Strategy on 10 March to set a clear direction for a globally competitive, climate-neutral and digitalised industry.

Last week, the Commission opened a four-week public consultation for feedback on draft rules to establish a new financing mechanism to support renewable energy projects across the EU.

The Commission’s initiative would enable member states to pay voluntary financial contributions into a scheme, which will be used to tender support for new renewable energy projects in all Member States willing to host such projects.

“It is especially relevant in the context of the post-crisis recovery, where the mechanism could help stimulate the economy in hard-hit Member States, both by getting large-scale projects off the ground and by supporting local SMEs and creating jobs,” highlighted Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson.

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