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16 Jul 2021

A good fit? Industry reacts to EC’s Fit for 55 package

Pamela Largue
A good fit? Industry reacts to EC’s Fit for 55 package
Image by Dušan Cvetanović from Pixabay
The Fit for 55 Package published yesterday (July 14) has unsurprisingly yielded a mixed bag of reactions from European industry.

Even though many have expressed positivity at the policy adjustments, some are left wondering whether sufficient funding will be available to ensure the fair and just transition is delivered across all member states, as promised by Timmermans and Co.

Read about the Fit for 55 package

COGEN Europe issued a response stating that the Fit for 55 proposals while sending the right signals for higher ambition, fall short of providing a comprehensive roadmap of measures to support the cost-effective achievement of targets.

COGEN Europe suggests that despite the increased focus on mainstreaming energy efficiency first, gaps remain in reinforcing system efficiency, supply side efficiency and security of supply at the lowest cost and lowest carbon for both consumers and the economy as a whole.

Hans Korteweg, COGEN Europe Managing Director, said: “To be effective, the Fit for 55 Package must not cherry pick which efficient or renewable solutions should be promoted or available to consumers.”

“The Fit for 55 Package should not miss the opportunity to unlock the multiple benefits of cogeneration for 2030 and beyond. This can be achieved by complementing ambitious targets with a broad range of implementing measures, recognising the role of cogeneration in district heating, industry and buildings, as well as for reducing system costs and supporting security of supply.“

ESWET, the European association representing suppliers of waste-to-energy technology, welcomed the two proposals directly addressing their sector; namely the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) and the Emissions Trading System (ETS).

Said Patrick Clerens, ESWET Secretary-General: “The European Commission set down an ambitious set of measures to drastically reduce the emissions of the European industries. Waste-to-Energy suppliers are committed to taking the necessary steps to reach carbon neutrality with the support of the European Union”.

According to ESWET’s statement, the proposal for revising the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) accurately addresses the urgency of uptaking every renewable energy source available, including the electricity, steam, heating and cooling generated from non-recyclable waste.

The European Association for Storage of Energy welcomed the publication of the EU’s ‘Fit for 55’ Package however, not without reservations.

According to EASE, the revised Renewable Energy Directive (RED III) increases the overall Union target for renewable energy in 2030 to 40%, which is positive. However, the RED III proposals fall short in terms of supporting energy storage deployment to facilitate renewable energy sources (RES) integration.

EASE is calling on EU policymakers to expand RED III to include a comprehensive methodology to assess flexibility needs, which could be used to define an energy storage target to support the cost-effective integration of RES. “

Moreover, we ask for RED III to address barriers to deployment of hybrid RES + storage projects, simplify and speed up administrative procedures and permitting for energy storage facilities, and ramp up support for thermal storage,” said the EASE statement.

The full statement from EASE includes commentary on the revised Energy Taxation Directive, the introduction of binding targets in the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation, CO2 standards for EU mobility, as well as the complex implications of the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) dossiers.EASE added: “Fit for 55 is a prime opportunity to build on the ‘Clean Energy Package’ with respect to supporting energy storage deployment. We need more ambitious policies that put energy storage front and centre in the EU’s decarbonisation strategy – Fit for 55 can help us achieve this.”

Ignacio Galán, Chairman and CEO of Iberdrola, responded positively to the package, stating it “shows that Europe is tackling the climate crisis with urgency and optimism”.

“There is no time left to move slowly or allow carbon emissions to have an unabated role in any sector. Policies drive change, and we welcome that this package seeks to prioritise cleaner solutions in all sectors than the continued use of fossil fuels.”

He added: “Increasing the renewables target to 40% by 2030 is ambitious but achievable. Technology advancements and cost reductions in wind and solar and storage mean that renewables is the most competitive form of electricity generation today.

“The energy system can integrate renewables at this scale, as has been proven time and again in many countries in Europe already. It will be important for every country to look at their processes for planning and permitting to ensure projects can be delivered in the necessary timescales.

“Europe has the companies willing to invest faster in clean energy, and we hope that all countries now adopt the correct policies to unlock these investments and ensure the energy transition is at the heart of their economic recovery plans.”

Initial reactions have clearly been, for the most part, positive. However, as industry begins the implementation phase to meet these obligations, sentiment might become less supportive in the face of real-world challenges.

This article was originally published on Power Engineering International

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