The global campaign to align COVID-19 relief plans with the green transition is gathering steam in Europe, with solar representatives rallying behind the calls.
Earlier this week, trade body SolarPower Europe joined nearly three dozen other associations as they urged the EU to ensure anti-pandemic measures follow the principles of the European Green Deal, the plan to make economic growth greener and socially fairer across the continent.
As noted by the letter from 32 renewable and energy efficiency bodies, the idea of linking COVID-19 relief measures with Europe's “green transition and digital transformation” was already backed by EU heads of state meeting at a videoconference last week.
“Investments in a zero-carbon infrastructure and innovative solutions are 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,” the industry missive reads.
Proposed last December, the European Green Deal would channel €1 trillion (US$1.09 trillion, based on current exchange rates) towards the sustainable economy by 2030. The investments, SolarPower Europe and others said in their letter, must be brought forward for “rapid recovery”.
The Green Deal could help revive Europe from the current “economic pause”, the associations argued, describing renewable and energy efficiency investments as “labour-rich and shovel-ready.” Europe, they said, could use its manufacturing base to show “worldwide industrial leadership”.
The renewed focus on how Europe will respond to the COVID-19 emergency comes as the pandemic spreads across the bloc’s major economies, including Italy (105,792 virus cases at the latest count), Spain (95,923), Germany (71,808) and France (52,837).
Over the past few days, PV Tech has documented the impacts slowly expanding to top solar markets, including Spain’s move to freeze project construction, France’s permitting bottlenecks as workers are confined, Italy’s red-tape troubles and Germany’s constraints for auction-backed projects.
Europe’s campaign for a greener COVID-19 comeback has been mirrored across other of the world’s core renewable markets. Over in the US, Democratic lawmakers failed last week in their attempt to include solar and wind tax incentives in a US$2 trillion package of federal aid.
The prospects and challenges of solar's new era in Europe will take centre stage at Large Scale Solar Europe 2020 (Lisbon, on 30 June-1 July 2020).
This publication has also set up a tracker to map out how the COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting solar supply chains worldwide. You can read the latest updates here.
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