As the sun shines on Brussels today the European Commission has brought out its “Clean Energy for All Europeans” package, designed to build an energy future based on renewable energies.
The package consists of a framework for the deployment of renewables to 2030 and the rules to govern the electricity market post 2020. Through this array of legislation the Commission has given the European solar industry an opportunity, but there is much to be done to take this chance and build a solar powered electricity system.
Oliver Schaefer, President of SolarPower Europe, commenting on the package stated ‘The market design measures proposed by the Commission are going in the right direction, but are not brave enough to phase out coal and nuclear. The energy transition is slowed down when these harmful energy sources continue to exist in our electricity system’. He added, ‘We also need a firm push now to make sure that coal and nuclear are not given public money through capacity mechanisms. These are the technologies of the past, and the market built on renewables must be brought to life. The introduction of a carbon ceiling in capacity mechanisms is a good first step, but we need to make sure that such mechanisms are only used as a last resort and make a minimum impact on the market.’
Alexandre Roesch, Policy Director, said ‘We need strong action to ensure that priority dispatch is maintained for renewables, especially if capacity mechanisms are to be allowed – even as a last resort. Such mechanisms have a massive negative effect on the electricity price and thus distort investments away from clean technologies to old polluting ones. Renewables and flexibility providers need to be rewarded in the new market.’
SolarPower Europe are encouraged to see the basis of a set of principles for providing support for renewables at the national level within the re-cast renewable energy directive. The so called common rule book has been a controversial element in the discussions on the new directive. Commenting Sonia Dunlop, Policy Advisor, explained ‘the common rule book is the foundation for a stable investment environment for renewables in Europe, we need this to be taken forward and built on by our partners in the Parliament and Council to ensure that private money will flow into our technologies.’
The re-cast RED also provides a new right for all Europeans – the right to self-consume and self-generate. Alexandre Roesch continued ‘An important revolution has also started today, giving the basis for consumers to have the right to prosume. Solar is a means to democratise energy and we are delighted that for the first time renewable self-consumers will now be recognised at EU level and have a legally binding framework giving them the right to generate, consume, store and sell their own power. It is even more encouraging as this will apply to apartment blocks as well, allowing 40% of European citizens who live in flats to also benefit from self-generated solar power.’
The legislation will now pass to the European Parliament and Member States via the Council of the European Union and a final package is expected in 2018.
SolarPower Europe, the new EPIA (European Photovoltaic Industry Association), is a member-led
association representing organisations active along the whole value chain. Our aim is to shape
the regulatory environment and enhance business opportunities for solar power in Europe.