The package is aimed at rejuvenating the wind industry in the bloc amid widespread challenges such as soaring costs and inflation, supply chain bottlenecks and sluggish permitting processes.
One of its primary policy recommendations is to speed up the permitting procedures for new wind energy projects, which can often take years to complete. Other proposals include new wind energy auction designs that emphasise non-discriminatory, qualitative criteria, according to the plan.
Under the proposals, the European Commission (EC) will help speed up permitting by pushing for the digitalisation of national permitting processes in member states as part of the wider RepowerEU sustainability plan. The EC will launch a dedicated online tool designed to help member states reform the permitting process before the end of the year.
Other proposals in the package include an overhaul of the design for wind energy auctions in EU states. These should be crafted to support “non-discriminatory, objective and transparent criteria related to cybersecurity and international data transfer in addition to environmental credentials and “ability to deliver” the proposed project.
Non–price related criteria in auctions – such as longer lifespan installations and circular economy measures that reduce the environmental impact of wind farms and reduce the bloc’s dependency on critical raw materials – will be specifically promoted, the draft proposals stated.
If the proposals are adopted, the EC will call on member states and industry to “improve, simplify and provide consistency” in the design of renewable energy auctions, including for wind power projects, under the proposals. Legislation may also be implemented which compels member states to create uniform auction desgns in the longer term.
The impact of so-called “negative bidding” on wind project auctions will also be assessed, the EU stated.
Meanwhile, all member states will be asked by the EU to commit to specific, concrete pledges on wind energy deployment volumes for at least the period between 2024 and 2026. The bloc is targeting 420GW of installed wind capacity by 2030 under the Repower EU plan, up from around 205GW today.
Additional measures include improving access to finance for wind energy projects, monitoring the influence of outside markets on the European wind industry, and expanding relevant skills among the workforce of individual member states.
‘Unfair trade practices’
According to the published proposals, the EU will “closely monitor possibly unfair trade practices” that could potentially benefit foreign turbine manufacturers and, if justified, “activate its trade defence instruments”.
The draft legislation received praise from key players in the European wind industry, including Jochen Eickholt, CEO of Siemens Gamesa.
“The European wind power action plan finally provides the necessary foundation that we urgently need to build a European wind industry that is resilient and globally competitive,” he said. “Every second counts now. We ask to immediately implement these measures, so that we can all join forces and make sure that the ambitious climate targets set up by the EU become a reality.”
Industry body WindEurope also rected positively to the proposed package of measures.
“The Wind Power Package is a gamechanger for Europe’s wind energy industry,” said CEO Giles Dickson. “The new actions on finance, auctions and permitting will speed up the development of wind farms. And crucially they’ll help Europe’s wind energy supply chain deliver the equipment for that. This is good for jobs and growth – and for Europe’s energy security,” he added.