European Commission urges members to deploy solar to tackle energy crisis, releases ‘toolbox’

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The European Commission has recommended an increased roll out of renewables to mitigate future energy crises on the continent. Image: Pixabay.

The European Commission (EC) has urged member states to accelerate solar deployment in order to tackle Europe’s rising electricity prices and has released a ‘toolbox’ to address the short-term impact of prices and strengthen resilience against future shocks.

Speaking at a press conference earlier this week (13 October), the EC Energy Commissioner, Kadri Simson, called the current situation in Europe, which has pushed energy prices up to record levels, “exceptional” but urged member states to future proof their countries from further shocks.

“The clean energy transition is the best insurance against price shocks in the future, and needs to be accelerated. The EU will continue to develop an efficient energy system with high share of renewable energy,” said the Commission.

It told members to “step up investments in renewables, renovations and energy efficiency and speed up renewables auctions and permitting processes”.

Europe’s most competitive power purchase agreements (PPAs) offers jumped 8% quarter-on-quarter as a result of the worsening energy crisis and the EC guidance includes immediate measures to protect consumers and businesses through supporting their access to renewable PPAs.

The EC called on members to “facilitate a wider access to renewable PPAs and support them via flanking measures”.

Claire Couet, policy director at SolarPower Europe explained that “solar PPAs protect European industries against price volatility” and said the EC’s “proposed flanking measures to support the development of PPAs are very positive and must be deployed fast.”

As part of measures for a decarbonised and resilient energy system, the EC also urged states to “develop energy storage capacity, to support the evolving renewables share, including batteries and hydrogen”.

“Investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency will not only reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels, but also provide more affordable wholesale energy prices that are more resilient to global supply constraints,” it added.

SolarPower Europe’s CEO Walburga Hemetsberger said the current crisis was a “wake-up call” for the continent.

“As the lowest cost and most versatile energy source, today solar is already insulating millions of Europeans from price shocks,” Hemetsberger said. “According to our calculations, households with existing solar installations are saving around 60% on their monthly electricity bills during this electricity price crisis.”

“Member states must launch dedicated tenders and establish the right price signals for solar and storage projects, while implementing ambitious innovation policies to deploy the technologies we need in our grids,” Hemetsberger added.

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