The wind power industry is set to regain grip as the European Commission unveiled yesterday 15 immediate actions, under its wind energy package, to secure domestic energy sources.
With a binding EU target of at least 42.5% renewable energy by 2030, EU countries need to adapt their energy systems and to urgently increase capacity. Wind capacity, in particular, is expected to grow from 204 GW in 2022 to more than 500 GW in 2030, according to the Commission.
The Commission’s announcement of the wind energy package comes as a relief for an ailing industry suffering from lack of permits, supply chain and financing problems, among others.
In 2022, all largest wind turbine manufacturers reported significant operating losses, the Commission said, noting that with 16 GW of new wind projects installed in 2022, there’s still a long way to go to reach the 37 GW per year needed for achieving the EU 2030 targets. However, the EU executive noted, in 2022 there was a 47% increase of wind power installation compared to 2021.
“We are committed to work together with Member States and the (wind) industry to turn our legislative targets into reality on the ground”, said Kadri Simson, Commissioner for Energy, during yesterday’s press conference.
The wind sector is key for the achievement of our clean energy and climate goals, but we need to make sure it can do business in a fair and supportive environment.Kadri Simson, European Commissioner for Energy
1. More permits and better auctions
The European Wind Power Action Plan presented by the EU executive attempts to ensure the energy transition will go hand-in-hand with industrial competitiveness across the wind power sector.
Among the 15 immediate actions set out in the Action Plan, incentives to accelerate deployment through faster permitting, improving auction design and facilitating access to finance have been mostly welcomed by the wind energy industry.
“The Wind Power Package is a game-changer for Europe’s wind energy industry. 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,” commented Giles Dickson, WindEurope’s CEO.
This package will help the European wind sector to grow at home and compete globally, thus reducing dependencies on external suppliers and creating green jobs for workers.Maroš Šefčovič, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal
The Commission will also launch partnerships to increase the volume of skilled workers for the wind energy sector and will develop an EU Wind Charter with EU countries and the wind industry to help the industry to remain competitive. So far, European manufacturers have accounted for 85% of the EU wind energy market and for 94% in the offshore sector.
But competition in the wind manufacturing sector has increased at global level in the last years, and the EU is particularly concerned with the rise of Chinese companies at global level. The Commission will pay special attention to trade distortions and said it will work to facilitate access to foreign markets for EU manufacturers.
To speed up investment and financing for wind energy manufacturing in Europe, the Commission plans to finance the sector with 1.4 billion euros under the Innovation Fund. This will include projects for the manufacturing of wind turbines and their components. A call for proposals is due on 23 November, the Commission said.
Funding will also be available from the European Investment Bank (EIB), with more than 1.8 billion euros for wind projects approved so far. EU countries were also encouraged to make full use of the flexibility provided by the amended Temporary State Aid Crisis and Transition Framework to support wind manufacturing in the EU.