European industry groups call to 'link' Green Deal and Covid-19 recovery plans
WindEurope and SolarPower Europe among signatories of plan to 'fully integrate' coronavirus stimulus packages and energy transition strategy
31 March 2020 17:41; GMT UPDATED 31 March 2020 18:31 GMT;
By Darius Snieckus
Over 30 energy industry bodies have made the case to EU political leaders to build the European Green Deal into the economic stimulus strategy currently being devised to counter the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a joint letter, associations including renewables groups SolarPower Europe, WindEurope and Ocean Energy Europe called on the European Commission to “fully integrate” the stimulus packages and the Green Deal, to accelerate the energy transition and spur post-Covid-19 job creation.
“We stand behind the European Green Deal and urge you to create this link with the immediate stimulus packages,” said the groups, in a statement. “Today’s action addressing health and climate challenges across all policy areas and sectors will improve the well-being of citizens and the climate while strengthening Europe.
“Covid-19 has forced the world into an economic pause. Now, you have the power to use the Green Deal to restart Europe and drive its economy with a focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy across all sectors. Such investments are both labour-rich and shovel-ready.”
Investing in a zero-carbon infrastructure and innovative clean-energy technologies would be “the best and most cost-effective route to economic recovery on a national and supranational level while at the same time preparing the grounds for a secure and sustainable energy system”, said the groups.
“Bringing forward the necessary [stimulus] investments,” said the group, “would accelerate investments in energy efficiency, renewable heating and cooling, electricity, mobility, zero-carbon buildings, and industrial processes [and] ensure ongoing supply of clean energy and ongoing investments in energy transition [would] continue in the current pandemic as essential services.”
“We have to keep the green economy running. It will be the engine for economic recovery – so we should keep it as oiled as we can for now. And once we’re ready to invest again, target renewables – they’re job-rich, shovel-ready and will lead us back to growth”, WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson told Recharge.
Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO of SolarPower Europe , said: “Renewable energy industries and electrical installers represent more than 1.5 million jobs in Europe today. Ambitious policies for the deployment of renewables across EU sectors and businesses can be a key driver of the EU economic recovery, while working towards a climate-neutral economy before 2050.”
She pointed to solar as “the lowest cost and most easily deployed clean energy technology”, referencing a recent Joint Research Centre study that showed two-thirds of Europe’s rooftop PV potential could provide electricity at lower rates than current residential tariffs.
In the joint statement, the groups went on to underline that renewable energy was cost-competitive with fossil fuels and could sustain jobs across Europe.
“With a strong European manufacturing base, Europe can show world-wide industrial leadership. Our joint industries and associations are committed to making a green economic recovery a collective success.”