REPowerEU paves the best way for renewables but in addition undermines environmental laws

The plan to wean the EU off Russian fossil fuels offered at the moment by the European Fee set a promising agenda for renewables that, sadly, is overshadowed by additional investments in fuel infrastructure and the roll-back of environmental regulation to ease photo voltaic and wind allowing.

In response to Russia’s navy aggression on Ukraine, EU leaders have lastly determined to place their foot on the accelerator of the power transition by way of the REPowerEU technique.

Unveiled at the moment and endowed with €195 billion, the plan goals to cease importing Russian fossil fuels by 2027 specializing in three methods: scaling up renewables, mobilising power financial savings and diversifying power sources.

The plan contains a rise in each EU’s Vitality Effectivity and Renewable Vitality targets of the FitFor55 package deal, which was one of many important calls for from civil society organisations when Russia’s navy aggression began. But these targets are nonetheless falling in need of the wanted ambition to maintain the Paris Settlement’s local weather purpose alive: a 50% improve in renewables and 45% in power effectivity by 2030.

The European Environmental Bureau (EEB), the biggest European community of inexperienced NGOs, welcomes the unprecedented increase in renewables envisaged within the plan. Deploying tens of millions of photo voltaic panels and warmth pumps, coupled with constructing renovation and power effectivity measures, take us one step nearer to being on monitor with our Paris Settlement Dedication and are our greatest instruments to isolate Putin’s regime.

“Stepping up photo voltaic and wind energy, power effectivity and warmth pumps is the best approach ahead to exchange the EU’s reliance on Russian fuel. We have a good time the historic push for clear power outlined within the RePowerEU, however we additionally look with nice concern on the emphasis placed on new fuel routes. The EU needs to be cautious of making extra fossil gasoline dependencies from autocratic regimes or climate-wrecking fracking initiatives”, mentioned Patrick ten Brink, Deputy Secretary-Basic of the EEB.

Whereas joint procurement and different short-term market measures may be understood within the context of the geopolitical disaster, diversifying power sources, because it reads within the communication, would merely exchange Russian fossil fuels with different fossil fuels, resulting in additional dependencies and CO2 lock-ins. Furthermore, the European Fee has put the give attention to switching to Liquified Pure Gasoline (LNG), which may be a lot extra carbon-intensive than Russian fuel if we take into account the general emissions of delivery and regasification.

Moreover, it’s welcoming to see references to social justice and equality, though rather more consideration and particular measures needs to be addressed to empower weak teams on this fast-pace power transition, significantly ladies and youngsters.

The photo voltaic wave

“We reward the goal and the duty of photo voltaic on new roofs. However new buildings are the exception, not the rule. We have to shortly solarise the prevailing ones and therefore EEB calls on the co-legislators to introduce a ‘consent by silence coverage’ throughout the EU for individuals who wish to set up photo voltaic on their roofs. This is able to be the most effective assure to prioritise rooftop, distributed photo voltaic over extra disputed options”, mentioned Davide Sabbadin, coverage officer for power and round economic system on the EEB.

Heritage buildings and historic centres, in fact, could be exempted from any simplified photo voltaic allowing process, he added. Batteries, photo voltaic thermal and good applied sciences ought to equally be promoted along with photovoltaic power so as to ease the set up in rural areas the place grids are weaker. 

Heating precedence

The communication features a related dedication to strengthen ecodesign insurance policies on heating expertise by setting a phase-out for fossil-only applied sciences by 2029. We salute this as a victory as this can be a core request of our long-lasting Coolproducts marketing campaign for a few years now. However, the timing may be very totally different from what has been lately adopted in Member States like Germany and Netherlands

“That is an excessive amount of of a time-distant proposal to have an actual impact on the approaching years. Not solely had Worldwide Vitality Company already steered 2025 as the newest potential date for such a phase-out, however maths clearly signifies that fuel boilers put in in 2029 will nonetheless be burning fossil fuel as much as 2050. Being heating the biggest fuel market, this delay is undermining our local weather neutrality and power independence objectives”, added Sabbadin.

Environmental deregulation

Underneath the guise of fast-tracking renewable permits, at the moment’s package deal contains proposals to water down key environmental safeguards by way of the backdoor. The European Fee proposes a blanket exemption from the evaluations set within the Environmental Impression Evaluation Directive and the Birds and Habitats Directives for renewable initiatives in ‘go-to’ areas that shall be solely outlined by Member States. This dangers extreme dangerous results to nature because of unhealthy planning.

“Environmental laws shouldn’t be an impediment to the deployment of renewables. Within the midst of the biodiversity disaster, there isn’t a justification to scrap key environmental assessments and set a harmful precedent. Allow functions may be accelerated with extra workers capability, streamlined approaches and actual public participation, with out undermining basic nature and biodiversity safeguards”, mentioned Laura Hildt, coverage officer for biodiversity on the EEB.

The EEB has analysed the prime 10 issues for renewables deployment in Europe and none of them pertains to nature safety. This roll-back of environmental regulation is unjustifiable from any perspective and places the European Inexperienced Deal at stake.

On prime of this regression, declaring that each one renewables are of ‘overriding public curiosity’ to bypass environmental mechanisms and safeguards units a harmful precedent for different developments. This may be equally used sooner or later to water down present laws/procedures in relation to uncooked materials or different points.


Notes to the editor

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