The European Commission has launched its proposal for a post-Covid-19 recovery plan, a proposal with the European Green Deal and renewed emphasis on renewable energy such as wind and solar at its heart
To ensure the recovery is sustainable, even, inclusive and fair for all member states, the Commission is proposing to create a new recovery instrument, Next Generation EU, embedded within what it described as "a powerful, modern and revamped long-term EU budget."
The Commission has also unveiled its adjusted Work Programme for 2020, which will prioritise the actions needed to propel Europe’s recovery and resilience.
Next Generation EU has a budget of €750Bn (US$810Bn) and ‘targeted reinforcements’ to the long-term EU budget for 2021-2027 will bring the total financial firepower of the EU budget to €1.85Trn.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said, “The recovery plan turns the immense challenge we face into an opportunity, not only by supporting the recovery but also by investing in our future.
“The European Green Deal and digitalisation will boost jobs and growth, the resilience of our societies and the health of our environment. This is Europe’s moment. Our willingness to act must live up to the challenges we are all facing. With Next Generation EU we are providing an ambitious answer.”
All of the money raised through Next Generation EU will be channelled through EU programmes in the revamped long-term EU budget.
As the basis of the EU’s recovery strategy, the European Green Deal includes, among other things, the rolling out of renewable energy projects, especially wind, solar and kick-starting a clean hydrogen economy in Europe.
The Green Deal will also see particular attention given to the renewable energy, such as offshore wind and solar, that will be necessary to produce green hydrogen.
A green recovery package is expected to ensure acceleration of renewable energy projects, especially wind and solar, including local projects and large-scale projects at transmission level, and of cross border relevance.
“The positive track record of renewables must continue to support the emerging expansion of clean hydrogen as a breakthrough technology in the European industry. A kick-start of this future industrial ecosystem is needed with a view to large-scale deployment by 2030,” said the Commission in draft documentation.
The recovery plan will also see the EU ensure financial closure of current project pipelines, and acceleration of a pipeline of future projects, including auctions for 15 GW of renewable electricity capacity in the next two years.
Responding to the EU plan, WindEurope chief executive Giles Dickson said, "The EU strategy clearly enshrines the green transition as the main driver of economic recovery and as key to Europe’s future growth and prosperity. Within that, the strategy singles out wind energy as one of the ‘policy fundamentals of the recovery’.
“These are excellent proposals from the EU Commission, just the kind of ’big bazooka’ the EU economy requires. And the right sort of investments. It’s clearly going to be a green recovery. And a boost for the energy transition.
"The EU wants wind to be half of Europe’s electricity by 2050. That means huge investments, jobs and growth. Wind is ready to deliver. We look forward to the detailed proposals that’ll help make these investments happen."