Experts: Eurosceptics will not derail renewable momentum

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Reddit
Email
Clean energy was not a specific Eurosceptic target and will likely not become so in a fragmented Parliament, experts believe (Credit: Flickr / Tiocfaidh ár lá 1916)

The EU’s far-right may have made headway at the recent elections but will remain unable to hinder the bloc’s renewable journey if it attempts to do so, experts have said.

Contacted by PV Tech, SolarPower Europe’s Walburga Hemetsberger argued that the retreat of centre-right EPP and centre-left S&D at last week’s poll – even as Eurosceptic groups gained support – will not necessarily spell bad news for the PV industry.

As the solar association CEO noted, the EPP and S&D duo have lost the joint majority they held at the European Parliament since 2014, creating a need for alliances with much-invigorated Greens/EFA and liberals from the ALDE&R group.

“If a ‘grand coalition’ is formed between these parties, the effect could be an even stronger push for climate action and renewables,” Hemetsberger said. Fragmentation, she added, will result in “more heated” debate around these issues but not a weakening of Parliament’s “strong stance” to date.

A Parliament of climate ‘champions’

The Eurosceptic right may have known relatively limited EU-wide gains last week – from 20% to 23% of all 751 Parliament seats, based on provisional results – but still clinched noteworthy victories at the national level, securing the top spot in the UK, Italy and France.

According to Quentin Genard, acting head of thinktank E3G in Brussels, national success won’t likely embolden these parties to form an EU-wide camp against renewable policies. Clean energy was not, he told PV Tech, a specific target of Eurosceptic campaigns and is not likely to now become part of their core asks at the Parliament.

“[The far-right] has been marginalised in many of the decisions so far with pro-EU parties agreeing among themselves.” Genard argued.  “They have not actively engaged or tried to influence European policies as they very often use their European seats to build up a profile domestically, their real political target.”

“In conclusion, I would argue it takes many ifs for the far-right populists to be able to stop progress on renewable energy in its track,” Genard added. “The new Parliament is likely to be a champion of climate action after the school strikes, and that includes renewable energy.”

A list of asks for the next Commission

As the dust settles after the parliamentary election, attention is already shifting to who the new MEPs will choose to replace Jean-Claude Juncker as European Commission president.

As recently found by PV Tech, many credit the current Commission with having kickstarted EU-wide renewable growth by masterminding – and ensuring passage of – a supportive policy framework, complete with targets and rules on clearer auction schedules and PPAs.

Known as the Clean Energy package, the legislation is now fully adopted; it paves the way for EU solar capacity to double by 2030, and double again between then and 2050. However, how the new MEPs and Commission move on secondary, parallel fronts could hasten or hinder progress.

For instance, as E3G’s Genard noted, the 32%-by-2030 EU renewable target must be revised in 2023. In addition, he pointed out, the ongoing discussions on whether the EU should become climate-neutral by 2050 would entail “massive” additional efforts on renewables by 2030.

Asked to anticipate key policy fronts, SolarPower Europe’s Hemetsberger said the ongoing review of EU State Aid Guidelines for Energy and Environment could help improve solar’s business case. The industry’s coupling with mobility, buildings and industry will be another “hot topic”, she said.

Hemetsberger was also keen for the new EU institutions to embrace the solar industrial strategy it has spent months campaigning for. The plan, featuring a 20%-by-2030 solar target, was backed this week by Enel Green Power, Meyer Burger and SMA Solar.

See here for full results of the EU election 

15 September 2022
Bifacial PV modules will be the dominant solar PV technology globally within one or two years; in the utility-scale sector, their market share is already above 70%. This webinar will provide a clear view on the successful implementation of bifacial technology, maximizing system performance and minimising LCoE.
4 October 2022
Solar & Storage Finance USA, the only event that connects developers to capital and capital to solar and storage projects, will be back in November 2022.

Read Next

August 15, 2022
German energy company RWE’s onshore renewables business has undergone a dramatic change in fortunes on 2021, with 1H 2022 seeing the unit return to profitability following a poor H1 2021 performance, while during the first half of the year the company invested €2 billion (US$2.04 billion) in the expansion of its green portfolio.
August 15, 2022
The US House of Representatives on Friday passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The largest climate package in US history will now move to the desk of President Joe Biden, where it is expected to be signed into law as early as today.
August 11, 2022
German project developer Energiequelle has entered the Polish renewables market with an eye on 30 projects with more than 1GW of capacity.
August 3, 2022
Spain has started the process to celebrate a fourth round of renewables auction in November with 1.8GW of solar capacity to accelerate its electrification.
August 2, 2022
Swiss PV module manufacturer Meyer Burger has slashed its production plans for 2022 and 2023, citing a “challenging supply chain environment” which has caused delays to its planned production capacity build out.
August 1, 2022
US utility CenterPoint Energy has sought approval from the Indiana Utility Regulation Commission (IURC) to acquire a 130MW solar PV project in Pike County, Indiana.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
September 7, 2022
15:30 AEST (UTC +10)
Solar Media Events
September 14, 2022
London
Solar Media Events
October 4, 2022
New York, USA
Solar Media Events
October 11, 2022
Virtual event