National Policy and Regulatory Developments | WindEurope
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National Policy and Regulatory Developments

National Policy and Regulatory Developments

All the latest on what governments are doing to help (or hinder) the development of wind energy

Message from our CEO

23 February 2021

In 2020 the wind industry proved to be resilient to COVID-19. In the first half of the year it continued generating clean electricity as fossil power production fell sharply. Public health restrictions led to major disruptions for the wind supply chain and installation activities, but the industry recovered much of the lost ground in the second half of the year.

Wind is perfectly placed to feature in the National Recovery and Resilience Plans that EU Member States need to submit to the European Commission to access EU Recovery money. The plans are due this April and climate-related investments must represent 37% of the funding.

Read more

In December the EU Heads of States and Government confirmed their climate commitment by increasing the 2030 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target from 40% to 55%. The European Commission will table a higher renewable energy target for 2030 by June to reflect this new ambition, its impact assessment suggests a range of 38%-40%, up from the current 32%.

Last November the European Commission presented its Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy which sets out the plan to deploy 300 GW of offshore wind across the EU-27 by 2050. Adding in the UK and Norway, this is broadly in line with the 450 GW the continent needs to be climate-neutral by 2050. The onshore wind volumes the EU needs for climate neutrality are higher still, around 1,000 GW.

But all these targets are academic if Europe doesn’t solve its permitting challenge.

In France in late 2020 there were minor reforms that will help permitting of wind projects. That includes new mapping of wind zones with regional governments, freeing up of at least 14,000 km² from radar and other military exclusion zones, and the replacement of old turbine lighting with systems only activated when planes are nearby. But there’s still way to go in simplifying permitting in France.

The latest onshore auctions in Italy and Germany onshore were significantly undersubscribed. Permitting issues are again the main bottleneck there, causing the prices to remain high €68/MWh in Italy and €62/MWh Germany.

The amended German Renewable Energy Act (EEG) approved last December won’t solve this unfortunately. It has good things such as the commitment to closer cooperation with the federal states to identify zones for new wind farms and the extension of the reference yield model. And it at last gives us clarity on the annual auction volumes for onshore wind. But a new rule that allows the regulator to reduce auction volumes when there’s a risk of an auction being undersubscribed undermines certainty for investors. No other country allows this.

There is better news in Spain where the Government published a schedule for all upcoming auction rounds until 2025. Spain will auction 1,500 MW annually between 2021 and 2025 under the wind-only pot. In January, the country held its delayed 2020 tender where wind won 1 GW at prices below €30/MWh.

And Poland passed a historic Offshore Law that will see 5.9 GW will get negotiated tariffs. After that, the Government will conduct two 2.5 GW auctions in 2025 and 2027 in order to reach 11 GW of offshore wind by 2040.

Offshore wind developments in the Baltic Sea were significant last year. Poland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia signed a joint declaration to accelerate the build-out of offshore wind in the Baltic Sea. Lithuania is developing its own offshore wind farm, while Estonia and Latvia are doing it jointly.

Despite the COVID pandemic Europe raised €26.3bn of investments in new offshore wind farms in 2020. This will finance 7.1 GW of new offshore wind which will be built in the coming years.

This online resource covers the latest changes in policy and regulation across European countries impacting wind energy and will be regularly updated.

I hope you enjoy the findings.

Giles Dickson,
CEO, WindEurope

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