COVID-19 Wind Information Hub | WindEurope
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COVID-19 Wind Information Hub

Impact on Wind Supply Chain

All of Europe’s wind turbine and component factories are now open following the easing of restrictions across Europe. Sanitary measures are strengthened within sites to guarantee full compliance with government recommendations.

Wind energy installations for 2020 are expected to be 30% down compared to industry forecasts. This will depend on the how quickly activity can ramp up in the most heavily impacted countries – Spain, Italy. And on the disruptions in the global and European supply chains. The supply of components and materials from China is now ramping back up after the interruption in February, but other bottlenecks remain e.g. India. Any continuous restriction to movement of goods and people is expected to slow activity and to drive up capital expenditures (CAPEX).

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts global trade to drop by 11% and the global economy to shrink by 3% in 2020. The European Commission’s spring 2020 economic forecast expects the EU economy to shrink by 7.5% this year. Some Member States will be hit harder than others, the forecast contraction ranging from -4.25% in Poland to -9.75% in Greece.

The uncertainty over the evolution of the COVID-19 crisis will also likely increase the cost of finance. In the short-term banks will be less willing to lend as they are concerned about liquidity and corporate finance will be more challenging, notably for debt.

It will not be possible to make up the lost ground in wind energy installations in 2021. The outlook for the sector will also depend on the effectiveness of national and EU recovery plans.

See archive

27/5/2020The IEA in its new report predicts global energy investments to face a historically big fall of 20% this year with the complete financial impact due to falling demand, lower prices and bill defaults potentially surpassing $1tn. Investment in fossil fuels is expected to drop the most and investments in renewables will jump from one-third to 40 percent of total energy investment as a result. However, necessary investments for the energy transition will also be hit. The IEA’s Executive Director Fatih Birol warned that the drop in investments could undermine “the much-needed transition to more resilient and sustainable energy systems”. Source: IEA
19/5/2020Construction at the Neart na Goaithe wind farm (448MW) off the Scottish coast has restarted. A small number of staff first visited the site to put in place control measures and the rest of the team joined in only later. Construction will continue with a smaller workforce on site, including essential supervisory staff. Source: 4C Offshore
15/5/2020Petrofac, the substation producer for the Seagreen offshore wind farm in Scotland, stated that it has experienced significant disruption due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It mentioned stringent health protocols, supply chain disruptions, travel restrictions and government-enforced lockdowns as the main reasons. Their projects are progressing but some construction activity will not be recovered in 2020 due to material delays. Source: reNews
12/5/2020The examination period for the Norfolk Boreas offshore wind farm off the English coast has been extended from 12 May to 12 October. Due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, a number of hearings had been cancelled which would not allow all interested parties to participate fairly in the examination. Vattenfall which will be developing the project stated that they “are confident that there is very little left to explore, and that it will be possible to complete the process well within the five-month limit provided by the Secretary of State.”Source: reNews
12/5/2020The Aquila Renewables Income Fund has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak too, having faced a 3% loss in value per ordinary share compared to the last quarter. The Fund said that the main reason for this was the reduction in the near-term forecast of power prices. Simultaneously, electricity production of those part of the fund exceeded forecasts by 22.7% which the fund expects to contribute positively to its 2020 income. Source: reNews
11/5/2020ScottishPower Renewables has confirmed that construction at multiple projects has restarted. It had earlier halted construction at the Halsary Wind Farm in the Scottish Highlands due to the coronavirus lockdown but work at the project restarted today. It also continued working on the grid connection of three other wind farms in Scotland. Source: reNews
6/5/2020German offshore wind operators received around €50m less in FITs or market premiums in February due to the “six-hour rule”, which takes effect when wholesale spot prices have been negative for six hours or more. Germany’s offshore wind association BWO has asked Berlin to change the market design and warns that due to COVID-19 and the lower power demand estimates for electricity prices are even harder. Source: Recharge
5/5/2020Vestas’ CEO Henrik Andersen stated that Vestas is ready to operate effectively in a global market that risks being disrupted for the long term by COVID-19. He highlighted that the manufacturer had learned lessons early on and that has led to disruptions being minimal. This has had the effect that longest any Vestas factory has been closed is two weeks, in China. Source: Recharge
5/5/2020Nordex joins the list of OEMs that have withdrawn their financial guidance for 2020. The company listed uncertainties regarding the duration and severity of the disruptions caused by the outbreak of COVID-19 as the main reason. Due to this uncertainty it can’t assess the further consequences on its supply chain, production and execution of project installations. Source: NORDEX
4/5/2020As of today many Italian companies will be allowed to restart production as the first phase of reopening the country will allow manufacturers and construction companies to get back to work. Other sectors such as retail and restaurants will have to wait an additional two to four weeks. Italian turbine production facilities which faced limitations are amongst the first group allowed to reopen. Source: Reuters
3/5/2020The UK’s National Grid has rung alarm bells stating that there is a “significant risk of disruption to security of supply” due to the low energy demand which threatens to leave the electricity grid overwhelmed by surplus power on 8 May, a bank holiday in the country. It has asked the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets for emergency powers which will allow it to switch off solar and wind farms for one day. Source: The Times
30/4/2020Even though most governments have put in place lockdowns, construction was allowed to continue in many countries. Construction for big projects such as the East Anglia 1 offshore wind project (714MW) also continued and Siemens Gamesa has installed the last turbine at the project during this period. Source: Recharge
30/4/2020The auction for the Hollandse Kust Noord offshore wind farm (700MW), which went ahead despite the coronavirus crisis, has closed on 30 April which is according to plan. The Netherlands Enterprise Agency announced that it received multiple bids and expects to publish the results within 13 weeks. Source: Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland
30/4/2020The IEA in its Global Energy Review predicts CO2 emissions will drop by 8% this year. This would be the largest decrease in emissions ever recorded and would bring back emissions to the level of 10 years ago. The report stresses that all fuels will be affected negatively, only demand for renewables energy is expected to increase. Source: IEA
29/4/2020Ørsted stated that it will submit a bid in the Hollandse Kust North tender which closes on 30 April. The company’s Chief Financial Officer Marianne Wiinholt stated that Ørsted will take the higher merchant risk that appeared due to the coronavirus outbreak. EnBW has followed Vattenfall and announced it would not enter a bid, however. The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs meanwhile said the tender round is progressing as planned with enough competition. Source: Recharge
28/4/2020 BP’s CEO Bernard Looney praised the resilience of renewable energy during the oil price shock caused by the COVID-19 crisis. He also said that the current situation adds to the momentum behind the energy transition and that there will be a sharper pressure for the energy transition after the pandemic is over. Source: Recharge
24/4/2020 The World Bank in its Commodity Markets Outlook estimates that global energy prices will drop by 40% compared to last year due to the outbreak of COVID-19. However, energy prices will see a “sizeable rebound in 2021”. In the same report it calls on governments to see this as an opportunity to eliminate subsidies on oil. Source: The World Bank
24/4/2020 Due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the increasing uncertainty revolving around it, TPI Composites has withdrawn its financial guidance for 2020. The uncertainty mainly stems from the rapidly evolving nature, magnitude and duration of the coronavirus crisis. The variety of measures implemented by governments to address the effects are also increasing uncertainty. Source: reNEWS
23/4/2020 The ORE Catapult test facility which carries out research for offshore wind farms has resumed testing and validation activities. The centre located in Blyth, England had halted testing but essential staff has now returned to work with extra safety measures. Source: reNEWS
22/4/2020 Siemens Gamesa becomes the second large wind OEM to pull its financial guidance for 2020. It stressed that the outbreak of COVID-19 made it impossible to “forecast or quantify with reasonable accuracy the full duration and financial magnitude of the impact” on its commercial activity. It also highlighted that for now the onshore sector is more affected. Source: Recharge
16/4/2020 The German government announced that it won’t introduce a lockdown of manufacturing but underlined that employers have a “special responsibility” for their employees. The German industry responded by stating that recovering from the coronavirus crisis should be aimed at keeping “the damage to companies and workforce as little as possible. Rather than adding burdens to the economy, it’s now about protecting the economy, also in view of climate efforts”. The European Green Deal should provide incentives to reduce CO2 rather than introduce new limits and bans according to Germany’s industry lobby. Source: POLITICO
16/4/2020 Due to the drop in power demand resulting from the corona virus, EDF has dropped its earning expectations for 2020 and 2021. Power demand in France has dropped by 15 to 20 percent because of the pandemic. Source: POLITICO
14/4/2020 The IMF has provided an economic outlook considering the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. They predict global trade in goods and services to drop by 11% and the global economy to shrink by 3% this year. They expect the Euro Area’s economy to shrink by 7.5% in 2020. However, they also expect the economy to grow again in 2021 but the growth depends on how government measures affect the economy. Source: IMF
13/4/2020 The Spanish Government has lifted some restrictions it had imposed at the end of March including those on manufacturing activity. As a result, Siemens Gamesa, Vestas, Nordex and LM Wind Power have reopened their production facilities in Spain while still applying strict health and safety standards. Source: Recharge and Nordex
9/4/2020 DEME is now pre-quarantining its staff that will board offshore vessels to ensure their health and safety and to avoid the risk of contamination. It has hired a hotel ship as of this weekend which is moored in Ostend, staff will stay there for two weeks before boarding one of the vessels. DEME transports and installs foundations, turbines, inter-array cables, export cables and substations for offshore wind farms. Source: DEME
8/4/2020 The Irish energy regulator CRU has stated that it will show flexibility and relax penalties for wind farms if they have difficulties maintaining operations. The regulator has taken this decision as overseas suppliers might face difficulties to undertake maintenance or perform outage work. It also stated that they consider putting penalties for operators that don’t comply to the grid code up for discussion during the crisis. Source: reNEWS
8/4/2020 TPI Composites has announced reductions and suspensions of production at a number of its facilities. Affected plants are located in Turkey, India and Mexico. Its manufacturing facilities in Izmir are operating at approximately 50% of capacity during the first half of April. Source: TPI Composites
8/4/2020 Navantia has decided that its staff will not return to work until the state of alarm is lifted in Spain. The company produces fixed structures like jackets, floating structures and offshore substations. Source: CORE
8/4/2020 Vattenfall’s Senior Vice President and Chair of WindEurope Gunnar Groebler warned that the coronavirus pandemic is starting to cause shortages impacting the construction and operation of offshore wind farms. He also highlighted once more the importance of the flexibility in the exact timing of tenders and that policymakers need to listen carefully to the needs of the industry. Source: RECHARGE
7/4/2020 The Scottish government has extended the planning permission periods that would expire within the next six months. Planning permissions are normally valid for three years in Scotland. Those that were to expire in the next half year will not expire until April 2021 due to the change in law. Source: Scottish Renewables
6/4/2020 European Economic Affairs Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni stated on Monday that the economic response to COVID-19 should lead to a change in our economic model. The recovery package should use the opportunity of “correction, environmental sustainability, innovation and digitalization but also about how to preserve our democratic model in a system where the public function will be stronger now”. Source: POLITICO
6/4/2020 Austria’s new “Corona Law” also introduced changes to the country’s Green Energy Law. Practically, it extends the construction period for wind farms by half a year so that delays caused by the crisis do not lead to the expiration of the subsidy contracts. It applies to projects that had a construction deadline between 16 March 2020 and 16 March 2021. Source: IG Windkraft
6/4/2020 The Italian renewables associations are calling on the government to tackle administrative burdens which could create 75,000 permanent jobs in the country and support it in reaching its Green Deal Emissions reduction targets. They also consider the lifting of these barriers the indispensable starting point for realizing the more than €80 bn of additional investments envisaged by the National Energy and Climate Plan. Source: Free Coordinamento
5/4/2020 The UK’s energy demand has fallen by around 10% due to lockdown measures which has led to record-low electricity prices with instances of negative prices. Households that fall under the new home energy tariffs may even have negative electricity prices and receive money back for the power they use. Source: The Guardian
3/4/2020 DEME and Van Oord have asked the Dutch labour inspection for a change of the rotation schedules for offshore wind workers. They would like to temporarily extend the offshore working period up to 6 weeks compared to 2 or 3 normally. This change would minimise the risk of contamination. Source: NWEA
2/4/2020 The deadlines for the tender for geological modeling and reporting on offshore wind areas in Germany have been pushed back by the country’s Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH). The original deadline for submission of requests to participate was 30 March and this has been moved to 7 AprilSource: offshoreWIND.biz
2/4/2020 The construction of the electrical substation for the Saint-Nazaire offshore wind farm has been halted by Atlantique Offshore Energy. EDF stressed that other manufacturing elements for the projects are continuing. Source: reNEWS
2/4/2020 A further two onshore wind construction sites in Scotland have come to a standstill. Works at the Burnfoot East (10.8 MW) and Gordonbush (47 MW) wind farms have stopped. Other wind farms in development continue to be worked on such as at Crossdykes (48 MW). Source: reNEWS
2/4/2020 Since the Spanish government introduced stronger lockdown measures this week, Iberdrola has halted all its work at construction sites of renewables projects in the country. Outside of Spain much of its construction work continues. Source: RECHARGE
1/4/2020 Nordex has closed all its production facilities in Spain after the Spanish government’s decree on what constitutes an essential service. It affects two of Nordex’s nacelle factories in Valencia and Val d’Uixó and its blade factory in Lumbier. Source: Nordex
1/4/2020 The Hull blade and assembly facility in the UK has reopened today after it temporarily closed last week. Thermal imaging equipment has since then been installed to check workers’ temperatures and extra personal protective equipment is being given to staff. Source: RECHARGE
1/4/2020 The Wind Energy Training Centre in Constanța, Romania has been closed until the Emergency Situation in the country is lifted. As a result, 200 technicians will not be able to be trained in the coming months. Alternatives for online education are being looked into for now. Source: Monsson Operation GmbH
1/4/2020 Vestas has reduced production to a minimum in its Spanish factories. At its blade factory in Daimiel, minimum production of blade root continues as this is an essential segment to its global supply chain and a complete shutdown would create a disproportional disruption. The generator factory in Viveiro is closed except for some minimal logistic services. Source: Vestas
1/4/2020 Statkraft has put the construction of the Windy Rig wind farm (43 MW) in Scotland on hold due to the measures the UK government introduced last week. the Scottish government ruled that the necessary social distancing cannot be guaranteed on construction sites. The company said construction at the Fosen Vind project, which will be the largest onshore project on Europe, will continue. Source: Statkraft
31/3/2020 March Vattenfall announced that it will not participate in the Dutch offshore wind tender in April due to coronavirus uncertainties. It cited the general fall in energy prices as one of the factors to guide this decision. The company will continue focusing on existing operations and projects instead to ensure a timely delivery in a safe manner. Source: RECHARGE
30/3/2020 The Spanish Government issued a decree on Sunday on what constitutes essential services and should therefore continue. And what does not. Operation and Maintenance activity can continue including the supply and installation of spare parts and equipment. And companies have an exemption to continue with limited manufacturing of essential new equipment. In practice this means manufacturers are drastically limiting the number of people in the factories and applying enhanced health and safety protocols. But it is critical that this minimum level of activity is allowed to continue. Fully stopping would mean our global wind supply chain is paralysed and post COVID-19 recovery is all the more challenging, with thousands of jobs at stake.
26/3/2020 EnBW has promised that it will continue offering a stable energy supply during the corona virus crisis. Most of its operational team is still “ensuring that [the] energy supply system is working safely and reliably during this difficult time” Its CEO also highlighted that the company can’t rule out delays on individual projects. Source: FOCUS
26/3/2020 The Port of Esbjerg has launched an initiative to support companies, suppliers and activities to support them during this period. They also stated they will be moving forward with construction projects at high speed to support the construction industry. Source: Port Esbjerg
25/3/2020 LM Wind Power’s blade factory in Cherbourg was closed for three days earlier last week but has reopened again this week. GE Renewable Energy closed the plant as a precautionary step to strengthen sanity measures within the site, guarantee compliance with government recommendations and adapt the organisation to these new procedures. Source: reNEWS
25/3/2020 Due to the drop in oil and gas prices, wind and solar projects now match upstream hydrocarbon investment returns according to Wood Mackenzie. Their Vice-President of Corporate Analysis Valentina Kretzschmar stated that even if the price goes back up, renewables still present opportunities for companies with strong balance sheets, due to the growing pressure on the sector to commit to net-zero carbon. She also highlighted that investments in oil and gas historically are not correlated with investments in renewables. Source: RECHARGE
25/3/2020 Ørsted stated that their assets for both onshore and offshore are fully operational at normal availability rates despite the coronavirus outbreak. Key suppliers could be exposed to risk of delays due to travel restrictions, people working from home, and government stakeholders being occupied by crisis management but solutions have been found for this until now. Risks have been relatively contained and the volatility of oil and gas prices are not impacting their businesses. Source: Ørsted
24/3/2020 Dragados Offshore has ceased its activity from Monday on. The company is currently producing an electrical substation platform for the Dolwin 6 offshore wind farm which planned to be completed in late 2021 or early 2022. Source: La Voz de Cádiz
23/3/2020 Slovenia has decided to exempt small businesses and households from the obligation to pay for the support to producers of power from renewable sources and high-efficiency cogeneration. Additionally, the Energy Agency cut the network charge by 33% for the same group. The measures will stay in place until the end of May. Electricity bills are expected to drop by one fifth on average. Source: Balkan Green Energy News
23/3/2020 COVID-19 can lead to the delay in the construction of renewable energy projects in Germany due to supply chain interruptions according to the German federal grid agency Bundesnetzagentur. As a result the agency will treat construction deadlines for wind and biomass projects from past tenders with flexibility. If developers need an extension, these can be asked for in a “non-bureaucratic manner” by simply sending a formless request telling the reasons for the delay of a project. Source: RECHARGE
23/3/2020 The Bundesnetzagentur also announced that the tender deadlines will remain unchanged for this year, including those that have not yet been published on their website and participants must thus submit their bids on time. They do note that here could be a delay in the opening, checking and rankings of the bids as this is a labour-intensive process and the presence of several people in a room is required. Source: Bundesnetzagentur
23/3/2020 Portugal for the moment is not facing any delays in new energy acts, nor in delays of auctions for repowering projects. Repowering is a big priority for the Portuguese wind sector at the moment. However, investment costs have gone up in the country due to COVID-19 leading to higher investment costs. An extension of the commission deadline would thus be desirable as it would lead to a lower LCOE. Source: APREN
23/3/2020 The outbreak of the coronavirus has led to a decrease in electricity consumption in different European countries. Belgium’s peak electricity consumption is 10 to 15% lower than at the start of March. France saw a 10% decrease compared to a normal Monday in March last week. Spain also saw a 9% decrease and Poland had a 5% decrease. The Belgian TSO Elia has stated that each extension of government measures to fight the virus leads to a lower consumption peak. They also stressed that grid stability and security of supply remain guaranteed. Source: Elia Group
23/3/2020 Vestas has reopened the Daimiel blade production facility in Spain after health authorities inspected the plant to check whether the plant complies with health guidelines. Source: reNews
20/3/2020 Deutsche Windguard is continuing most of its operation and remains open for business but has taken the appropriate safety measures to guarantee the health of its employees. The only exception to this is their safety training centre in Elsfleth which had to be closed by law, being an educational institution. Source: Deutsche Windguard
20/3/2020 The Spanish Wind Energy Association (AEE) issues a statement on the effects of COVID-19 in Spain. There will be delays, no loss of activity they stress. Some administrative procedures such as grid connections and production permits are halted by the government currently, though. These will be taken up again when the state of alarm is lifted. AAE’s priority right now lies on the commuting of O&M personnel safely to wind farms. Source: AEE
20/3/2020 ENEL’s CEO Francesco Starace stated that both wind and solar are well-placed for a rebound as huge investments to restore growth are flowing in. He also reported that there are minimal disruptions so far to ENEL’s global wind and solar build-out and does not foresee any significant disruption to its short-term targets. Source: Recharge
20/3/2020 BayWa r.e., a project developer from Germany, stated that delays to the timeframes of its projects due to COVID-19 have been minimal but supply chain issues vary from market to market. They also expect business to accelerate even quicker after the end of the ongoing health issues and note that almost all Chinese supplier factories back to full operation. Source: BayWa r.e
19/3/2020 Wood Mackenzie believes the operation and maintenance of wind farms could be affected by the outbreak of COVID-19. This could lead to the availability of operating wind farms to fall to around 85% from the current average of 95%. Most countries in Europe have enough staff for routine operations but larger problems often require specialists from other countries. Travel bans could became an issue in these cases. Source: GreenTechMedia
19/3/2020 After Serbia declared a state of emergy due to COVID-19, the Serbian government decided to freeze the payment of existing FiT contracts. These FiT contracts are meant to stimulate the production of electricity from renewable sources. Source: Balkan Green Energy News
19/3/2020 Siemens Games has closed another factory in Spain with another employee being tested positive for COVID-19. Around 10 percent of Siemens Gamesa’s annual capacity is produced at this blade production plant. Source: Recharge
19/3/2020 Vattenfall is taking precautions and is cancelling public hearings and accompanied site inspections off the east coast of England at the Norfolk Boreas wind farm this week. ScottishPower Renewables is taking a similar decision and has warned that preliminary hearing and meetings for East Anglia 1 and 2 are likely to be disruptedSource: reNews
18/3/2020 Navantia is stopping production, except for “exceptional cases”. The company has expelled from its shipyards not only most of its direct staff, but also practically all the auxiliary staff. Windar Renovables, which is Navantia’s partner in offshore wind have also decided to send their staff in the factory in Fene on early holidays. Source: La Voz de Galicia
17/3/2020 LM Wind Power, a subsidiary of GE Renewable Energy, has stopped production at its two blade factories in Spain. The company stated the health and safety of its employees is its number one priority and therefore decided to close the factories in the Castillia and León region. Source: Recharge
17/3/2020 Siemens Gamesa has decided to close a plant producing wind and solar power electronics systems in Madrid after an employee was tested positive for COVID-19. The company decided to close the plant out of precaution and will proceed to its disinfection. All of Siemens Gamesa’s office staff are already working from home in Spain and production employees continue working using a special safe work protocol. Source: Recharge

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Impact on Energy Policy and Regulation

The following countries have confirmed they will stick exactly to their 2020 auction schedules: Germany, the Netherlands, Lithuania and Greece.

France is auctioning the same volumes only a few months later than planned. Ireland gave companies four weeks longer to bid in their April auction, and the UK gave three weeks longer to bid in their latest round of seabed leases for offshore wind. Spain is hoping to run major auctions in the autumn.

Where counties have 2020 deadlines for the commissioning of previously auctioned capacity they are extending these deadlines e.g. Austria, France, Germany, Spain, Poland, Greece and Ireland. The only exception to this is Turkey.

The European Commission has put forth a proposal for an EU Recovery Plan on 27 May. It will include an expanded 7-year EU Budget for 2021-2027. And a new Recovery & Resilience Instrument on top of it. The total size of the package will be somewhere between €1-2 trillion. It will be a combination of grants and loans with frontloading of spending and investments in the next 1-3 years. The European Investment Bank (EIB) will play a key role in executing the loans part of the package. The Recovery Plan will be a green Recovery Plan. This is what the European Commission and 18 Member States want.

It will have three main priorities: renewables, energy efficiency and renovation of buildings. Clean transport and low-carbon industry will also be priorities.

See archive

20/5/2020The International Energy Agency expects a 13% drop in new installed renewables capacity this year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the Agency foresees additions to resume in 2021 as delayed projects come online and supportive policies continue. Source: reNews
18/5/2020France and Germany made a joint declaration on the European Green Deal and the European Recovery Plan, setting out joint climate policy commitments such as: support for a higher 2030 emissions reduction target (in line with the Commission’ plan, 50-55% up from 40%), support for a minimum carbon price, and support for a green industrial growth. Source: European Parliament
15/5/2020In a resolution on the post-2020 EU budget revision and economic recovery plans, Members of the European Parliament demanded a “massive recovery package” of €2 trillion to tackle Covid-19 fallout. Source: European Parliament
15/5/2020Romania has joined a group of EU Member States which are calling for a green recovery. The initiative started by the Danish Environment Minister Dan Jørgensen has now been signed by 18 environment ministers throughout EuropeSource: POLITICO
14/5/2020The German Bundestag approved an extension to construction deadlines for renewables projects. The amendment to the Renewable Energy Act extends the deadlines by six months to make up for delays caused by lockdown measures and not to slow down the energy transition. Source: Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie
14/5/2020The UK’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has extended the deadline for the consultation for the fourth Contracts for Difference round from 22 May until 29 May due to COVID-19. The Department took the decision because it had received many requests for an extension. Source: reNews
13/5/2020The UK’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has opened a consultation to seek views on the plan to defer increases on electricity suppliers’ obligations under Contract for Difference rules due to exception circumstances caused by the coronavirus crisis. This follows an earlier advice from the Low Carbon Contracts Company which warned that “the lower electricity demand […] and higher payments to CfD generators because of lower wholesale electricity prices, electricity suppliers would have faced an unexpected increase in their obligations for the second quarter of 2020”Source: reNews
8/5/2020Germany’s neighbouring countries are asking the country to lift its coronavirus-related border restrictions. Border checks with Austria, France, Denmark, Luxembourg and Switzerland were extended this week. Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn questioned the need for these checks stating that they have a “negative effect on people’s minds”Source: POLITICO
7/5/2020An alliance of 94 organisations and over 500 scientists has called for an Austrian “climate-corona deal”, urging the Austrian Government to invest all recovery funds intelligently and in a climate-friendly manner. This should include state funds giving a boost to the expansion of renewables and energy efficiency in buildings and industry and a move away from subsidies for fossil fuels. Source: Energate
6/5/2020Austrian Environment Minister Leonore Gewessler said that the Renewable Energies Expansion Act is to enter into force as planned at the beginning of 2021, despite COVID-19. A first draft will be presented before the summer break with the final decision being taken en the second semester. A delay could mean that new wind power projects could be stopped for 2021 as the annual funding volume for 2021 might already be reached in 2020. Source: Energate
6/5/2020The UK’s Committee on Climate Change has advised the UK Government that recovery measures should support low-carbon infrastructure instead of investing in carbon-intensive sectors and that reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change should play an important role in the recovery package. Source: Recharge
5/5/2020The Greek Parliament has approved a change in environmental rules in order to boost investments and speed up the economic recovery after the coronavirus. The change affects regulations on land use, environmental licensing, the management of protected areas mainly benefiting oil and gas exploration. However, the legislation also offers benefits for renewables as investing should become easier as a result. Source: POLITICO
5/5/2020German Economy and Energy Minister Peter Altmaier together with Germany’s regional energy minister have outlined continued expansion of the country’s electricity grid and an increase in green investments as an important part of the reboot of the economy after the coronavirus crisis. Altmaier stressed that cooperation between Germany’s federal and regional governments should continue to speed up the expansion of the grid, which will be important for moving electricity from Germany’s wind-rich north to the industrial south. Source: POLITICO
29/4/2020The Spanish Ministry for Ecological Transition and Demographic Change has opened its public consultation processes on the Development of Offshore Wind. The consultation should normally be open for 15 days but the deadline for submitting contribution has already been suspended until the end of the state of alarm. Source: MITECO
29/4/2020Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson expressed her concern for the consequences for the European renewable energy industry. She pointed out the issues of supply chain vulnerability, reduced investments levels, delays in projects in emerging markets and the affected production in Europe. However, she also underlined that this moment is an opportunity to accelerate the progress towards climate neutrality. Source: European Commission
28/4/2020In a video message on Twitter, EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen stressed the need for the EU Green Deal as a European response to COVID-19. She underlined how the EU Green Deal is important for the expansion of renewables, CO2-reductions in transport and energy efficiency in buildings and how it would make Europe more competitive and resilient. Source: Twitter
28/4/2020At her intervention during this year’s digital Petersberg Conference German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for more European collaboration in fighting climate change while referring to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. She also welcomed the EU-objective of climate neutrality by 2050 and stressed the importance of raising the intermediate renewables target to 50-55% by 2030. In the past Germany had been reluctant raise renewable energy expansion targets. Source: Bundesministerium
für Umwelt, Naturschutz und nukleare Sicherheit
28/4/2020Authorities in Northern Ireland have removed the requirement to hold public community consultations as part of large-scale planning applications in response to COVID-19. The pre-application requirement for onshore wind projects will be suspended for five months starting 1 May. Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon added that public participation does remain an important part of the planning process and has proposed online meetings instead of face-to-face ones. Source: reNews
28/4/2020Following a meeting of European energy ministers Tomislav Ćorić, Energy minister of Croatia (EU Presidency), said that the EU energy market is still functioning well. It is resilient to challenges despite the disturbance caused by the coronavirus outbreak and oil market instability. The Croatian Minister also said that the ministers agreed that the current situation is a “major opportunity for transition and transformation towards green growth and recovery.” He also dismissed claims that the energy sector is being given unfair state aid, stating that the EU is “now in the phase in when every kind of help to the energy sector is needed” but the issue will be analysed and further discussed. Source: POLITICO
24/4/2020The Polish climate ministry wants recovery funds to focus on completing key projects for hitting the EU’s green targets and simultaneously reduce dependence on non-EU energy technology. The Ministry highlights that limiting funds for investments in renewables might undermine energy security. Source: POLITICO
24/4/2020April Energy ministers from 23 countries held an online meeting on how to put renewables at the centre of post-coronavirus recovery plans. It included participants from many large economies from both within and outside of Europe. The meeting resulted in the formation of the ‘contours of a green coalition’ according to Danish Climate and Energy Minister Dan Jørgensen. Source: Recharge
24/4/2020German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated that the EU’s recovery fund should be directly related to “what has to be done about climate protection” and that it shouldn’t be channelled into “carrying on as we did before the pandemic”. The €540,-bn package agreed on by EU leaders should therefore serve as an investment into the futureSource: Recharge
23/4/2020The Dutch government has called on the European Commission to raise its emissions reduction goal to 55 % by 2030. It also calls on the Commission to “withstand the temptation of short-term solutions in response to the present crisis that risk locking the EU into a fossil fuel economy for decades to come”. They specifically asked for the green recovery to focus on infrastructure projects including clean hydrogen and offshore wind. Source: POLITICO
23/4/2020The French High Council for Climate, which advises the French government on climate issues, urged governments to align climate objectives and their economic recovery plans. Giving financial support to industries should be conditional to a low-carbon trajectory according to the independent organisation. It further called for the tackling of the root cause of climate change, many of which are also amongst the causes for the outbreak of COVID-19. Source: POLITICO
21/4/2020The Spanish government has had to postpone its new climate law due to the coronavirus outbreak. When taking office the Government had promised to present its green transition measures within its first 100 days. Deputy Prime Minister Teresa Ribera who is in charge of the Ecological Transition, also leads the Spanish Government Taskforce on easing Spain’s lockdown restrictions. Source: POLITICO
21/4/2020France is facing a tightening of its funds for renewable investments as revenues from fuel taxes are expected to drop by €1bn. These taxes are partly used to cover green subsidies and are sourced from fuel and carbon taxes. France has seen a 70 to 85% drop in sales of fuel. However, Ecological Transition Minister Elisabeth Borne has earlier stated that renewable subsidies must be maintained. Source: POLITICO
21/4/2020Germany’s energy industry lobby BDEW urged the German government to remove barriers to expanding renewables to facilitate a boost in energy industry investments as part of the economic recovery programme. They also hope the government will ease energy costs and incentivise clean-tech investments by applying short-term cuts to energy-related taxed and levies. Source: BDEW
21/4/2020Italian Environment Minister Sergio Costa proposed a “green restart” for Italy. He sees the coronavirus crisis as a chance to enforce changes in Italy’s environmental policies. The package would focus on fighting environmental crimes, water pollution, littering. Both elementary and high schools will also have to educate students about the environment and climate. Source: Ministero dell’ambiente
20/4/2020More and more countries are committing to making the European Green Deal the heart of the economic recovery after the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. Four countries (Ireland, Malta, Slovakia and Slovenia) have signed the initiative. There now is a majority of 17 EU Member States supporting the initiative. Source: Climate Change News
20/4/2020The UK’s National Grid has published a report on what to do with excess electricity if demand remains low throughout summer. Two measures it mentioned are paying wind farms to switch off and paying hydroelectric plants to use excess power to pump water in reservoirs to be used later. This increased need to intervene could delay normal maintenance of the grid which is normally done in summer. Source: National Grid
17/4/2020The Spanish wind energy association (AEE) presented a 12-point plan for economic recovery after COVID-19. In the short term, the plan aims to maintain employment and investments and ensure construction activities as well as the operation of existing wind farms. It also includes measures to steer the pandemic response towards green technologies and to allow for the delivery of Spain’s ambitious National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP). Among those medium-term measures are the development of an offshore wind strategy, improved maritime spatial planning, the development of an electrification strategy and a national talent and education strategy for employees in wind energy. Source: AEE
17/4/2020French President Emmanuel Macron in an interview stated that we might be heading towards a change in public perception. COVID-19 has caused people to rethink their priorities, especially with regards to environment protection and climate change. “When we get out of this crisis people will no longer accept to breath dirty air” according to Macron. He also believes that the current crisis has shown that societies are willing and able to accept certain restrictions which could be reflected on environmental protection in a similar way. Source: Financial Times
17/4/2020Environmental norms in France won’t be lifted and the government’s green agenda won’t be pushed aside after the lockdown is lifted according to French Environment Minister Elisabeth Borne. She stressed that the citizens’ convention on climate which will deliver an action plan to make the country climate neutral by 2040 will not be pushed backwards. She also believes the French will gain an increased awareness of environmental issues after this crisis. Source: Ouest France
16/4/2020The Northern Irish utility Regulator warned that utility companies do not qualify for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Instead it is only for companies that have been “severely affected” by the ongoing health crisis “rather than those who have had to scale back certain activities and are seeking to cover the cost of those employees”. Source: reNews
16/4/2020The UK’s Committee on Climate Change has postponed its report on the UK’s future emission reduction targets. The report was supposed to be published in September but has been moved to December. It allows the Committee to spend more time on the analysis and reflect on the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. Source: POLITICO
15/4/2020The European Commission is considering changing deadlines for legislation this summer. Internal documents show that the Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy amongst others will maintain a priority. However, the Smart Sector Integration Strategy, the EU’s 2030 climate target plan and the European climate pact will be moved potentially. Find the full list here. Source: POLITICO
9/4/2020The UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has once again confirmed that it is for the time being not deferring the Contract for Difference Round 4 auction scheduled to run until 22 May. It will, however, keep the 22 May deadline under review and reassess the situation if needed. Source: Recharge
8/4/2020The French Central Bank predicts that the country’s GDP has dropped by 6% in the first quarter of 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The head of the Central Bank also noted that Every two weeks of confinement costs 1.5 percent of GDP level. Source: POLITICO
7/4/2020Vestas announced it is suspending its financial guidance for 2020 due to poor visibility and the lack of a clear prognosis on when key wind markets such as the USA, Brazil and India will recover. As soon as it is in a position to give new estimates for 2020, a new updated guidance will be published. Source: Vestas
6/4/2020Auctions for new wind projects across Europe continue amid the COVID-19 crisis. Greece presented the results of its 500 MW technology-neutral auction. It was fully subscribed and 153 MW was awarded to an onshore wind project with a price of €55/MWh – €2/MWh lower than the latest auction. The rest of the capacity was awarded to solar projects. Source: Renewables Now
2/4/2020The German Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) presented the results of the latest German onshore wind auction. It was undersubscribed again with only 150 MW out of the available 300 MW being awarded. The average price of the projects was €61/MWh. It has been increasingly difficult to get permits for projects in Germany. This has pushed up prices in Germany and led to a number of undersubscribed auctions. Source: Bundesnetzagentur
2/4/2020European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen repeated once more that the priorities of the EU budget will remain the same and that it can play the role of a ’Marshall Plan’ in the recovery of the European economy. Decarbonisation is one of the priorities alongside digitalisation and ‘resilience for the EU’. Source: POLITICO
2/4/2020A German government spokesperson has announced that in spite of the ongoing crisis, the final presentation of the coal exit legislation will still be presented this summer. Source: POLITICO
2/4/2020Poland is sticking to the development of new wind energy legislation. COVID-19 isn’t delaying the progress for the offshore wind bill and the discussion on whether the 2016 rules restric onshore wind developments also continues. Source: POLITICO
2/4/2020The French Government has adjusted its renewable energy auction schedule. The deadline to submit bids to the next onshore wind auction was originally 1 July. The Government has decided to maintain this deadline for 250 MW, which is 1/3 of the volumes originally planned. The deadline to submit bids for the remaining 2/3 (500 MW) will be 1 November.France will also extend the commissioning deadlines for renewable energy projects. The length of the extension will only be decided after the end of the lock-down period. Find more information on the auctions, dates and volumes here.France also presented the results of the latest onshore wind auction. Projects worth 1,100 MW applied and 749 MW was awarded, more than the 630 MW which was planned originally. The average bid was competitive at €63/MWh – around 3 euros lower than the previous auction. Source: French Ministry for the Energy Transition
2/4/2020Despite announcing that it would not push through any new climate regulation due to the corona crisis, the Dutch government has presented new plans today. Economics and Climate Minister Eric Wiebes announced that electricity production at 3 of the remaining coal powered electricity plants has to be reduced this year. He didn’t rule out the closure of one of the plants. Source: NOS
2/4/2020April The UK government has postponed the date for COP26 UN climate change conference which was scheduled to take place in Glasgow in November. As a response European Commissioner Frans Timmermans said that the European Commission “will not slow down its work domestically or internationally to prepare for an ambitious COP26, when it takes place. Source: POLITICO
2/4/2020Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts that onshore wind will be heavier hit by the pandemic than offshore wind. It expects European onshore installations to be 4GW lower in 2020 than it initially anticipated and highlights that Europe and the US will be most affected globally. Source: BNEF
2/4/2020The Scottish Government has advised all non-essential business sectors to close until there is more clarity about how operations can be undertaken safely and following the social distancing rules set out. They have thus given the advice that all business premises, sites and attractions that are not essential to close. Scottish Renewables is expecting clearer guidelines from the Scottish government on Critical National Infrastructure soon. Source: Scottish Renewables
1/4/2020The Greek government has extended a number of deadlines due to the corona crisis. It applies to a number of issues such as connecting projects to the grid; Installation Licenses and binding Grid Connection Offers; the new Reference Values for non-auctions projects; the submission of the required bank guarantees. Most of them have been postponed by either 4 or 6 months. Find the full list hereSource: HWEA
31/3/2020The Polish President signed the emergency “coronavirus” bill which allows onshore wind farms to ask for waivers to delay completion of their projects by 12 months from the earlier contracted date. Source: The First News
31/3/2020The European Parliament’s Committee on Regional Development is currently holding on to its June deadline for a final vote on the Just Transition Fund. The deadlines in March have all been met and political groups are currently consolidating position and preparing amendments to the lead lawmaker’s report. Source: POLITICO
31/3/2020In the UK, parliament has gone on recess which means that key post-Brexit environmental legislation has been put on hold. In practice nine sessions in the legislative process have been postponed which means that the bill and its amendments will only be discussed end of April at its earliest. Source: POLITICO
31/3/2020 In France the proposed reform to improve the enforcement of environmental laws and access to environmental justice has been pushed back as French MPs have been working from home. The reform has already passed its first reading. Source: POLITICO
27/3/2020The European Heads of Government held a video conference to agree on how to tackle the COVID-19 crisis and to discuss a recovery strategy. They agreed that the recovery strategy to be put in place after the worst of the pandemic is over needs to be built around the green transition and digital transformation. Source: Recharge
27/3/2020The Dutch government has announced that it will not agree new measures to further decrease the CO2 emissions due to the COVID-19 outbreak before April. This is in spite of a 1 April deadline following a court case which urged the government to take more measures to cut emissions. Dutch Minister of Economics and Climate Eric Wiebes stated that managing the coronavirus crisis will be given priority for now. Source: NOS
27/3/2020Ireland has extended the deadline for the prequalification round for its Renewable Energy Support Scheme due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The application period has been extended to 30 April, rather than 2 April as was planned initially. Source: Windpower Monthly
26/3/2020Polish Climate Minister Kurtyka has, once again, argued that due to the possibility of having a recession as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, Poland should receive more renewable aid from the European Commission. Source: POLITICO
25/3/2020Crown Estate Scotland is continuing its planning to officially launch the ScotWind seabed leasing round for offshore wind projects in spring. It intends to stick to the deadlines as announced before and will ensure that government guidance on preventing the spread of the coronavirus will be adhered to. Source: OffshoreWind
25/3/2020A Commission spokesperson has commented that COVID-19 shows us that we need to have legally binding climate goals. We need to continue giving attention and efforts to the climate crisis. He also noted that one of the key reasons for the Climate Law was to “to avoid that climate action, a generational task is sidelined by more pressing and immediate challenges”. Meanwhile, the European Parliament is still aiming to get the Climate Law bill ready for a plenary vote in September. Source: POLITICO
24/3/2020Astilleros Gondán, a shipbuilding company that is also constructing two ships for the wind sector at the moment has shut down starting today until the end of the state of emergency in Spain which is expected for 13 April. The company will not receive any government support as a result of its closure as its activity has not been prohibited by the government. Source: La Voz de Galicia
24/3/2020The European Commission urged EU countries to immediately implement its recommendations and ensure that the transport of goods remains unobstructed. Green lane border crossings should be opened for trucks and they should not spend more than 15 minutes to cross due to checks and screenings. They are also calling on a non-dicriminatory treatment of all freight vehicles “irrespective of the origin, destination, or country of registration of the vehicle, or of the nationality of the driver”Source: POLITICO
23/3/2020The Polish Wind Energy Association (PWEA) has warned that the coronavirus outbreak could slow the construction for onshore wind farms and that they might miss their deadlines therefore. The association has urged the Polish government to pass an emergency law allowing onshore wind farms to ask for waivers to delay completion of their projects by 12 months from earlier contracted deadlines. Source: PWEA
23/3/2020The Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced that all non-essential factories over the country must be shut. Only those sectors that are necessary to “get the country through this crisis” will be allowed to stay open. In practice this means supermarkets, pharmacies, banks, post offices and public transport. Source: Corriere della Sera
23/3/2020France is discussing an initiative that will suspend gas and electricity bills for SMEs while measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus are in place. Similar plans have been discussed in Spain, Italy, Poland and the UK before. Source: POLITICO
23/3/2020The United Kingdom has extended the response period for its offshore wind leasing round. Interested parties will be given more time due to the COVID-19 outbreak to offer their bid. It will affect four different Seabed Bidding Areas (Dogger Bank, Eastern Regions, South East, and Northern Wales and Irish Sea). The awarded capacity in this tender process will be between 7 and 8.5 GW. Source: Renewables Now
23/3/2020The Council of the EU has cancelled its Working Party on Environment which was scheduled for today due to COVID-19 concerns. Officials from each Member State were supposed to start negotiations on the draft EU Climate Law. Source: POLITICO
23/3/2020The renewable energy auction scheduled for 4 April in Greece has not been affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The auction is electronic and all documents that had to be submitted physically already have been. Source: HWEA
23/3/2020Poland’s Finance Minister Tadeusz Kościński has stated that the energy sector is struggling with the effects of COVID-19 and the government might therefore provide financial support. At the same time utilities are being encouraged to declare a moratorium on energy bill payments. Source: POLITICO
23/3/2020The Danish government’s negotiations for a new climate bill have been put on hold indefinitely as they focus their effort on the coronavirus outbreak. The planned climate bill entails the ambition to cut carbon emissions by 70% by 2030. Source: Berlingske
22/3/2020Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director provided a commentary on the coronavirus crisis and modern society’s dependency on electricity. He highlighted that governments’ financial responses should focus on the development, deployment and integration of clean energy technologies. This has the benefits of stimulating economies and accelerating clean energy transitions. Source: Fatih Birol
20/3/2020A spokesperson for the Spanish Ministry for the Ecological Transition has announced that despite the ongoing health crisis the government still intends to meet its deadlines regarding its climate policies. The Ministry thus still aims to unveil its new climate law by mid-April. Source: POLITICO
19/3/2020The European Central Bank has set up a €750 billion Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme: a temporary asset purchase programme of private and public sector securities to counter the serious risks to the monetary policy transmission mechanism and the outlook for the euro area posed by the outbreak and escalating diffusion of COVID-19. Source: European Central Bank
19/3/2020Some politicians have been questioning whether putting money into the European Green Deal is the right thing to do at this moment. Meanwhile many national governments have announced plans to support their economy by handing out cash to polluting industries. But European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services Thierry Breton highlighted at a Bruegel event on Thursday that “the European Deal is not over and we will deliver and offer ever greener solutions once the pandemic is done.”Source: POLITICO
19/3/2020On the other side of the Atlantic, the American renewables sector has asked lawmakers to extend deadlines for the tax credits wind and solar projects receive until the end of this year. They stressed that disruptions and delays caused by the spread of the virus could put 35,000 jobs at risk and jeopardize $43 billion in investment. Source: Reuters
19/3/2020Markus Söder, Bavaria’s Prime Minister, has stated that EEG surcharge and electricity taxes should be suspended for three months in Germany to offset the economic consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak. The EEG surcharge is used to finance the expansion of renewable energy. Source: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
19/3/2020The industrial shutdown as a result of the corona virus has led to a drop in the price of ETS emissions permits. The price drop between Tuesday and Wednesday was the biggest in 18 months and reached €15.23 per ton on Wednesday, down from €24.06 on 10 March. Source: POLITICO
17/3/2020The Dutch Government is not planning to postpone its offshore auction for the Hollandse Kust Noord Site 5 (700 MW), which is planned for April. It does not foresee an impact of the COVID-19 crisis for the submission of proposals. The Government should keep in mind that if there is an impact of the Corona virus and the auction will be undersubscribed, the non-awarded volumes should be awarded at a later stage. Source: Recharge
17/3/2020Polish Deputy Minister of State Affairs Janusz Kowalski criticized the European Emissions Trading System (ETS) and asked for Poland to be excluded from it starting next year, or to abandon it altogether. He argued that the ETS system has led to higher electricity prices in Poland. These measures would thus help Poland to set off the economic consequences of the coronavirus outbreak. Source: Reuters
16/3/2020Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has called on the EU to change its focus from the Green Deal to the COVID-19 crisis and thereby to cancel its plan to invest over €1 trillion to reach net zero emissions by 2050. Source: Reuters
16/3/2020The European Investment Bank plans to mobilise up to up to €40 billion of financing, which will go towards bridging loans, credit holidays, and other measures designed to alleviate liquidity and working capital constraints for SMEs and mid-caps. Source: European Investment Bank
13/3/2020The European Commission has made €37 billion available from the EU budget to address COVID-19. This ‘Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative’ will advance payments, redirect cohesion funds, and take other measures to support Member States as they struggle to suppress the virus. Source: European Commission. Source: European Commission

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EU and national measures on Free Movement and Economic Relief

Restrictions on economic activity are gradually easing. All production facilities are now operational and construction activity is restarting in those countries where it was disrupted. Operation & Maintenance (O&M) services continue as they have throughout the crisis, since energy and electricity supply has been broadly recognised as an “essential service” requiring operational continuity.

Travelling within the EU, EEA, Switzerland and the UK has been allowed again by most European governments. It remains crucial to check whether it is also possible to enter another country before travelling there. Most European countries have compiled a list of areas from which travellers need to adhere to stricter quarantine rules or are not allowed to enter the country. It is therefore extremely important to check the travel advice to know the situation in the country of destination.

The EU has taken a number of measures to support the economy, including quantitative easing from the European Central Bank and an initial €540 billion stimulus package comprising loans under the European Stability Mechanism, EU support for short-time work schemes, and guarantees from the European Investment Bank.

On 27 May the European Commission presented a proposal for an European Recovery Plan to the EU Council and European Parliament. The total package is €1.85 trillion: €1.1 trillion in the updated EU Budget for 2021-27 and €750bn in a new Recovery Fund christened Next Generation EU. The Recovery Plan singles out renewable energy development as a priority and commits to “rolling out renewable energy projects, especially wind, solar and clean hydrogen.” The Recovery Fund is broken down into a €560 billion Recovery & Resilience Instrument and €190 billion of additional budgetary commitments, including an additional €30 billion for the Just Transition Fund.

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EU

Last update: 19/6/2020 The EU Maastricht Criteria on national debt and deficit levels have been suspended. EU state aid rules have also been relaxed. This leaves more room for national stimulus packages and emergency financial support from Governments to industry.

The European Central Bank (ECB) has set up a substantial €750 billion Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme to purchase government bonds and private securities on the financial markets. The ECB has since expanded the criteria of eligible securities to short-term securities with a maturity of over 70 days. The ECB also confirmed that a self-imposed limit to buy no more than a third of any country’s eligible bonds will not apply to the €750 billion programme. Meanwhile, the European Investment Bank (EIB) is mobilising €40 billion to alleviate liquidity and working capital constraints for SMEs.

The 27 Heads of State also agreed at their videoconference of 26 March that the green energy transition together with the digital transformation will be at the heart of the EU’s recovery from the pandemic. The EU leaders invited the European Commission together with the Member States and other institutions like the ECB to begin work on a Roadmap and an Action Plan for the EU economic recovery with these goals in mind. And they also requested the setting up a crisis management system withing the EU – the Commission will make proposals to that end.

On 30 March the European Commission published Guidelines on the free movement of workers across borders during the crisis. The Guidelines say that EU countries should facilitate unhindered entry in the host Member State for workers exercising critical occupations. This includes engineering professionals such as energy technicians, engineers and electrical engineering technicians, as well as people working on critical or otherwise essential infrastructure. These workers would be subject to the same health screening as for nationals exercising the same occupation on the territory of a Member State. Member States should coordinate between themselves on which side of the border this health check should be applied. The full text of the Guidelines is available here.

On 2 April the European Commission presented a communication outlining its response to COVID-19 (link). This includes a €100 billion short-time work (or Kurzarbeit) scheme guaranteed by Member States to prevent lay-offs during the crisis. Christened “Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency” or SURE for short, the funds would be used to cover part of employees’ salaries. Up to €100 billion in EU loans will be available under the scheme, guaranteed by the Member States.

In the communication the Commission also proposed to free up every available euro under the European Structural and Investment Funds for use in the fight against COVID-19. This means all limits on transfers between funds or between regions, all caps on allocation per policy objectives and requirements for co-financing will be lifted. The total sum comes to €37 billion. In addition, the Commission proposed to redirect available funding from the EU budget to a new EU solidarity mechanism. This will guarantee €3 billion for EU-27 to manage the health crisis.

On 9 April the group of Eurozone finance ministers (the Eurogroup) proposed a €540 billion support package comprising €240 billion of loans from the European Stability Mechanism and endorsement of two proposals: €200 billion of loan guarantees from the European Investment Bank (backed by €25 billion of capital), and the European Commission’s €100 billion SURE short-time work scheme.

The EU has since taken a number of measures to support the economy, including quantitative easing from the European Central Bank and an initial €540 billion stimulus package comprising loans under the European Stability Mechanism, EU support for short-time work schemes, and guarantees from the European Investment Bank.

On 27 May the European Commission presented a proposal for an European Recovery Plan to the EU Council and European Parliament. The total package is €1.85 trillion: €1.1 trillion in the updated EU Budget for 2021-27 and €750bn in a new Recovery Fund christened Next Generation EU. The Recovery Plan singles out renewable energy development as a priority and commits to “rolling out renewable energy projects, especially wind, solar and clean hydrogen.” The Recovery Fund is broken down into a €560 billion Recovery & Resilience Instrument and €190 billion of additional budgetary commitments, including an additional €30 billion for the Just Transition Fund.

Austria

Last update: 14/8/2020

Contact

Bernhard Fürnsinn, MSc.
Energiewirtschaft und Technik/
Energy Economics & Technology
+436602050752
[email protected]
Interessengemeinschaft Windkraft Österreich – IGW
Austrian Windenergy Association
Wienerstraße 19, A-3100 St.Pölten, Austria
Tel: +43 2742 / 21955-0
Fax: +43 2742 / 21955-5

Restrictions on economic activity

No known restrictions on economic activity. Production and construction continues under the condition that a minimum distance of one meter is maintained between workers. If the minimum distance of one meter cannot be maintained, working is only permitted if appropriate protective measures are taken (personal protective equipment).

Restrictions on free movement of people & goods

The Austrian borders are fully open again for travelers from all EU countries as the country

People coming from most European countries do not need to have a negative COVID-19 upon entering. However, those arriving from EU/EEA/Swiss high-risk areas have the obligation to provide a negative COVID-19 test result that has been administered in the past 72 hours. You can find the required form here. You can find a list of high-risk areas here.

Austria has suspended the entry of non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens entering Austria from outside the EU and the Schengen Area. Exceptions have been put in place for transit passengers, family members of Austrians, holders of a residence permit and members of a diplomatic mission. These exempted individuals will only be allowed to enter the country with a negative COVID-19 test.

Restrictions on economic activity

Most economic activity has been allowed again in Austria. In all public spaces, a distance of at least one meter must be kept from people who don’t live in the same household. Exceptions were put in place for the catering, accommodation industry where distance can be less than 1 meter within the group. The same rule applies to public transport. Events of people up to 200 people have been possible since 1 August. If people have assigned seats at a public event and are able to maintain a distance of 1 meter, 500 people are allowed to attend inside and 750 people outside.

Since 15 June , mouth and nose covering has only been obligated in certain public places (such as bulk transport, pharmacies, food retailers, post offices, banks, at events and services where the minimum distance of 1 meter cannot be kept).

For more information in German click here

Economic relief measures

Austria’s new “Corona Law” introduced changes to the country’s Green Energy Law. Practically, it extends the construction period for wind farms by half a year so that delays caused by the crisis do not lead to the expiration of subsidy contracts. It applies to projects that had a construction deadline between 16 March 2020 and 16 March 2021. More info. Economic Stimulus Measures:

On 18 March Austria announced it will spend up to 38 billion euros to secure jobs, keep companies afloat and limit the economic impact of COVID19. This package comes on top of a previously agreed 4 billion recovery package. The measures include: €9bn in guarantees and warranties, €15bn in emergency aid, €10 billion in tax deferrals. Additionally, the Austria Wirtschaftservice (AWS) is providing new loan guarantees for SMEs worth €10 million up to 80% of the loan amount or EUR 2,5 million for 5 years. The guarantees will have a one-time processing fee starting with 0.25 % of the amount to be financed and a guarantee fee, starting with 0.3 % p.a. (variable to risk) of outstanding liability.

Tax related measures:

Reduction / non-assessment of (corporate) income tax advance payments 2020:

  • If a taxpayer can credibly state that he is affected by coronavirus (COVID-19), advance payments for (corporate) income tax 2020 may be reduced even to zero as the case may be. This will be relevant in industries in which a significant economic decline due to the current situation is expected. Applications can be submitted until October 31, 2020
  • Late payment penalties may be reduced or waived upon request.
  • Tax authorities may defer taxes if their collection would lead to significant hardship or agree to payments in instalments.

Customs/Import and Other Miscellaneous Taxes:

  • The Austrian government, in a draft bill, has proposed that no stamp tax (duties) would be levied on any documents directly or indirectly related to any measures required to deal with the coronavirus crisis.

Suspension of Tax Audits:

  • The Austrian government in a draft bill has proposed measures that would extend all the deadlines for appeals to May 1, 2020, in cases for which the statutory periods were opened on March 16, 2020 or that commenced on or after March 16, 2020.

More information Employment related measures:

Short-time work: In order to react to the current circumstances regarding shut-downs of businesses, with retroactive effect from 1.3.2020, a new short-time-work model came into force:

  • The working hours of the employees are reduced between 10% and 90% and their salaries are adjusted accordingly.
  • The employer pays the employees a financial support (short-time-work support) for their loss of earnings.
  • In total, the employee has to receive at least a certain amount of his previous net salary (“net remuneration guarantee”) during the newly established model of short-time work for the coronavirus-crisis.
  • The employer receives a financial support from the Public Employment Service (AMS) on the basis of flat-rates determined by the AMS (short-time-work allowance).
  • The company must be affected by temporary economic difficulties which are not seasonal. Economic difficulties caused by the coronavirus are covered.
  • A new model contract for the coronavirus-crisis was established which can be concluded for a maximum of 3 months. If necessary, it can be extended by a further 3 months after discussions with the social partners.

Other measures:

  • Hardship fund for one-person companies and small businesses.
  • The existing bridging guarantees for working capital loans for EPU / SMEs and tourism companies will be continued and expanded.
  • Companies with 250 or more employees are guaranteed offers.
  • Austrian Health Insurance Fund (ÖGK).
  • Export companies can apply for a credit line of 10 percent (large companies) or 15 percent (small and medium-sized companies). The maximum limit is 60 million euros per customer. The financing is initially limited to two years with the option of extending it.

Belgium

Last update: 14/8/2020

Contact

Flemish Association ODE Vlaanderen:
Bart Bode (CEO)
T: +32 2 218 87 47
M: +32 485 522 947
E: [email protected]

Wallonian Association EDORA:
Fawaz Al Bitar (CEO)
M: +32 496 12 22 31
E: [email protected]

Belgian Offshore Platform:
Annemie Vermeylen (CEO)
M: +32 478 50 01 15
E: [email protected]

Restrictions on economic activity

Most economic activity in Belgium has restarted with some exceptions and limitations. Permitted events are scaled back to 100 people indoors and 200 people outdoors. Face masks are compulsory. The government has reverted back to “highly recommending” working from home as a default option until September 2020.

In busy shopping streets, in the outdoors markets and in public buildings, face masks will be mandatory from Saturday 25 July. Local authorities will now draw up a list of places where to wear a mask. A face mask will also be mandatory in restaurants and bars when moving around, e.g. when entering the establishment or to go to the toilet. The masks have long been mandatory on public transport, in shops, cinemas, theatres and concert halls, and museums.

Restrictions on free movement of people & goods

The Belgian Government has introduced a colour-coded system of guidelines for which countries are “safe” to travel to.

First there are red zones. These are the areas of highest risk, which are currently in lockdown following a new flare-up of COVID-19. These areas will be subject to a "formal travel ban". Travelers entering Belgium from these areas will be required to undergo a COVID-19 test and self-quarantine for 14 days. Then there are orange zones. These are areas with "high health risk" but not in lockdown. This means that a test and self-quarantine upon entering the country are not mandatory, but strongly recommended. Belgium does not recommend traveling to orange areas. All other areas in Europe are green. There are no special measures for these areas.

Anyone entering Belgium from abroad by any means of transport will have to fill in a form on the internet 48 hours before the return. This is mandatory whether you come from a risk area or not. Please find the form here.

An overview of which regions receive which colour code can be found here.

Economic relief measures

The Belgian federal finance Minister will propose the following measures to the European Commission for approval this week. We will update the info accordingly:

  • €50 billion guarantee fund for loans signed by companies during the covid-19 outbreak
  • €4,000 for one month and €160 per additional day for companies that were forced to close
  • Losses of financial institutions will be covered (if the loss is between 3-5% the split is fifty-fifty. For losses over 5% the government will cover 80% of them).
  • Postponement of withholding tax, VAT social security contributions and personal income tax.
  • Easier measures for “temporary unemployment”. Employees now get 70% of their pay plus an additional €150.

In addition:

* The Flemish government will:

  • Provide a “one-off” compensation fee of €3,000 for business that continue operating during the covid-19 crisis and suffer significant losses (at least 60% less turnover compared to March-April 2019).
  • Increase the loan guarantee fund for small business owners (loans up to €1.5 million)  with €100 million. This guarantee fund cannot be combined with the federal one.
  • Increase the loan guarantee fund for large enterprises (loans over €1.5 million) with €1.5 billion, up to €3.4 billion. This guarantee fund cannot be combined with the federal one.
Useful links
  • For more information in Dutch, French or German click here
  • For more information in English, click here

Bulgaria

Last update: 14/8/2020

Contact

Gabriel Todorova
Administrative Director
Bulgarian Wind Energy Association
Email: [email protected]

Lockdown easing measures

From 6 May, it is possible to travel again within Bulgaria. Restaurants, cafés and bars have also been allowed to reopen their open-air areas.

It is no longer mandatory to wear face masks in public (although recommended).

Restrictions on economic activity

All employers have to set up conditions for remote work and, where this is impossible, to set up extensive preventive measures (e.g. ventilation filters, disinfection, guidance to workers on hygiene rules, physical distances of min. 1m between employees, no admission of visitors with symptoms of the disease to the place of work).

Disrespect of measures will lead to fines for enterprises and legal persons of BGN 500 to 2,000 (between EUR 250 and 1,000) for first-time transgressors, and BGN 2,000 to 5,000 (between EUR 1,000 and 2,500 euros) if measures are disrespected again.

Restrictions on free movement of people & goods

EU nationals are allowed to enter Bulgaria without quarantine. However, if one was in a ‘high-risk country’ in the past 14 days (UK, Sweden, Portugal, as well as all non-EU countries with the exception of Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina), one should be quarantined for two weeks after arrival in Bulgaria. (with exceptions for certain occupational categories). Upon entry into Bulgaria, a declaration must be signed stating that you will adhere to the epidemic measures in force and that you travel at your own risk. A mouth mask must be worn when using public transport, supermarkets and when visiting pharmacies and medical institutions. Restaurants, cafes and night clubs in Bulgaria are open, as long as the staff keep their distance and wear mouth masks.

Economic relief measures

The Government introduced EUR 2.3 bn support package.

It has introduced the “60/40” scheme for SMEs whereby the state pays 60% of the salaries of redundant staff for all those businesses that were made to temporarily halt activities. The State also covers the insurance on the 60% of paid salary.

There are also interest-free loans of maximum BGN 1,500 (approx. EUR 750) for all employees who have been sent on unpaid leave.

The Government will also launch liquidity loans for small and medium-sized enterprises – unsecured working loans up to BGN 300,000 also managed by the Bulgarian Development Bank but distributed through commercial banks.

Links: Ministry of Finance (in Bulgarian)

Croatia

Last update: 23/7/2020

Contact

Maja Tatović
OIE HR
+385 91 760 4685 [email protected]

Restrictions on economic activity

All economic activity has been opened in Croatia since the beginning of May. This includes services that require close human contact provided they introduce the appropriate protective measures. On 29 June, the restriction on groupings of 40 people was lifted. Due to a rise in cases, face masks are mandatory for workers in close contact with people since 13 July as well as in certain public places.

Restrictions on free movement of people & goods

EU/EEA nationals and those with permanent residence status in the EU/EEA are allowed to enter Croatia. This includes everyone from the Schengen area and Schengen associated countries, including members of their families and third-country nationals under Council Directive 2003/109/EZ. They are all encouraged to fill in the ENTERCROATIA online form here: https://entercroatia.mup.hr/ People from third countries entering Croatia need to observe a 14-day quarantine. This can be shortened by doing a nasal and pharynx swab at their own expense seven days after entering Croatia and the result is negative. The following categories are exempt from following this procedure:

  • Health care professionals, health researchers and associates, nursing professionals and persons requiring urgent medical treatment
  • Cross-border workers
  • Carriers of goods and other transport personnel to the extent necessary
  • Diplomats, police officers in the performance of their duties, civil protection services and teams, staff of international organisations and international military personnel in the performance of their functions

However, these people are also encouraged within the first 14 days of their stay in Croatia to limit movement outside of their accommodation and keep this limited to necessary ones. They need to adhere to the Croatian sanitary measures as well and it is recommended they wear a face mask and maintain physical distance. Business meetings need to be kept to a minimum and public transport should be avoided, if possible.

Passengers entering the Republic of Croatia for tourism or other business reasons or having other economic interest, as well as persons travelling for educational purposes may enter the country without self-isolating if they can present a negative COVID-19 test, not older than 48 hours. If not, they have to adhere to a 14-day quarantine.

Useful links: https://www.koronavirus.hr/latest-news/150

Economic relief measures

For companies that are thinking of laying off workers due to the covid-19 pandemic, the Croatian government is offering to provide the minimum wage of a salary (around € 435) for each worker that wouldn’t be laid off.
The Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development and commercial banks will offer delayed payments of up to three months. They will also offer loans for salaries of employees and subcontractors. Separately, SMEs can apply for € 51 million of so-called “corona loans”.
Renewable energy surcharge for utilities is currently suspended.

Denmark

Last update: 14/8/2020

Contact

Camilla Holbech
WindDenmark
+45 (0)3373 0343
[email protected]

Restrictions on economic activity

Denmark is currently in stage 4 of its deconfinement. The only sectors that remain closed are the following ones:

  • A number of remaining educational institutions
  • Discotheques, music venues and night life
  • Other indoor sports and recreational facilities etc. (such as fitness centres, water parks, amusement parks, public swimming pools)
  • The ban on events, activities etc. with more than 500 participants is extended until at least 31 August 2020.

All open sectors need to follow the guidelines on physical distancing, hygiene etc.

Restrictions on free movement of people & goods

Denmark has made a list of countries whose residents are allowed to enter and those who are barred from entering the country. A difference is made between Danish nationals and others. People from bordering regions (Scania, Halland, Blekinge, Schleswig-Holstein or Norway) are allowed to enter Denmark regardless of their purpose. Persons resident in a country classified as ‘open’ (yellow) can enter Denmark if they have a worthy purpose or have booked a stay of at least six nights. A map showing which countries are classified as yellow can be found here. This also includes a number of countries outside of the Europe.

Economic relief measures
  1. Danish Government to pay 75% of the salaries of employees of companies notifying redundancies equivalent to 30% of workforce or more than 50 employees. Capped at DKK 23,000 for salaried employees and DKK 26,000 for hourly paid employees. Employers to pay the other 25%. Scheme duration: 9 March to 9 June 2020.
  2. Two loan guarantee schemes, to avoid a new credit crunch:
    • Guarantee scheme for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that have experienced an operating loss of more than 50%. Guarantee covering up to 70% of new bank loans.
    • Guarantee scheme for larger companies for larger companies that can document a loss of revenues of more than 50%. Guarantee covering up to 70% of bank loans.
  3. Postponement of deadline for VAT and different employer related taxes for four months.
  4. Temporary possibility for compensation of a company’s fixed expenses i.a rent, interest expenses, contractual obligations i.a leasing expenses.
  5. Compensation of 75 pct. of average monthly lost turnover for self-employed with maximum 10 employees.
  6. Extended right to get expenses reimbursed when paying wages to employees that are unable to work due to COVID-19. Same right for self-employed persons.
Useful links

Estonia

Last update: 14/8/2020

Contact

Terje Talv
Estonian Wind Power Association
E-mail: [email protected]
Phone: + 372 5063583

Lockdown easing measures

Restaurants and shopping centres will be allowed to reopen from 11 May under certain conditions.

Business owners must ensure that employees have personal protective equipment or can use alternative measures. Visitors are strongly advised to wear face masks, but this is not mandatory.

Schools will partially reopen from 15 May.

Travel between mainland Estonia and the islands will be permitted from 18 May.

No major public events can take place in Estonia until August 31. Source and more information

Restrictions on economic activity

No known restrictions on economic activities.

Restrictions on free movement of people & goods

Estonia allows people without symptoms from EU/EEA countries and the United Kingdom to enter the country if they have no symptoms. If the coronavirus infection rate in the country of departure is above 16 per 100.000 inhabitants, mandatory self-isolation is necessary for 14 days upon arriving in Estonia. The full list of countries can be found here and gets updated on a weekly basis.

Economic relief measures

19/03 – The Members of the Government gave their approval to a package of measures of €2 Billion, which represents nearly 7% of GDP.

State resources are directed to support companies through KredEx Foundation and the Estonian Rural Development Foundation. The package also includes labour market support of the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund, sickness benefits, tax incentives. The package allows for deferral of tax debt for 18 months, temporary suspension of second pillar pension scheme payments, as well as partial compensation for direct costs of cancelled events.

KredEx Foundation measures:

Loan collateral amounting to EUR 1 Billion for bank loans already issued in order to allow for repayment schedule adjustments (maximum EUR 600 Million for the surety collection), under the following conditions:

  1. if the bank relaxes the repayment schedule of the existing bank loan which has not been secured by KredEx Foundation, then KredEx foundation will secure the loan;
  2. the maximum guaranteed amount is EUR 5 Million per company,
  3. if possible, fixed guarantee will be restored or the guarantee rate will be increased to cover more than 80% of the guaranteed liability.

KredEx Foundation business loan – amounting to EUR 500 Million, subject to the following conditions:

  1. KredEx Foundation issues a revolving business loan to a company in order to overcome liquidity problems caused by the coronavirus, including, where necessary, the payment of bank loans,
  2. the maximum loan amount is EUR 5 million per company,
  3. the interest rate is approximately 4% per year.

KredEx Foundation investment loan – amounting to EUR 50 million, under the following conditions:

  1. KredEx Foundation grants an investment loan to the company so it would be possible to take advantages of the business opportunities created by the coronavirus, and other new business opportunities.
  2. the maximum loan amount is EUR 5 Million per company,
  3. the interest rate is approximately 4% per year.

The labour market service provided by the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund to cover for wage reduction – amounting to EUR 250 Million, under the following conditions:

  1. the benefit can be used by a compliant employer to cover the period of two months from March to May 2020;
  2. the benefit of no more than EUR 1000 per month per employee in need of the support is paid as gross amount.
  3. the benefit is calculated based on the gross wages of the employee over the period of the previous 12 months, plus remuneration payable by the employer to the employee which is no less than EUR 150 in gross amount. The Unemployment Insurance Fund and the employer will pay all labour taxes on wages and benefits.

Other measures:

  • For the period of March to May, the state will compensate the first three days of sick leave for all incapacity leave applications.
  • Rural companies can apply to the Rural Development Foundation for guarantees (up to EUR 50 million), business loans (up to EUR 100 million) or land capital financing (up to EUR 50 million).
  • Self-employed workers are subject to an advance social tax support measure.
  • Payments into the II pillar of the pension fund are temporarily suspended.
  • The State compensates for the direct costs of cultural and sporting events cancelled due to coronavirus in March-April, up to EUR 3 million.
  • The Members of the Government supported the proposal of the Minister of Finance to suspend the tax interest calculation for a period of two months and to allow tax debt to be rescheduled at lower interest rates than are currently in force.

Finland

Last update: 14/8/2020

Contact

Anni Mikkonen, CEO
Finnish Wind Power Association
Kauppakatu 19 A 9
40100 Jyväskylä,
Finland
+358 40 771 6114 www.tuulivoimayhdistys.fi

Restrictions on free movement of people & goods

Border control and restrictions have been lifted and leisure travel is possible between Finland and a number of EU/EEA member states. However, the country has started reintroducing travel restrictions for countries that have seen an increase in their coronavirus cases. The full overview of which countries can still travel freely to Finland without any restriction can be found here. Travellers coming from countries that were put on the list must use border crossing points where border control has been reinstated. Self-quarantine is recommended for those arriving in Finland from countries subject to internal border control.

All freight transport to Finland is allowed even from external countries that have been given a red status (outside of EU).

Economic relief measures

The Government has prepared an extensive package of approximately EUR 15 billion to support companies and to alleviate the negative effects of the coronavirus epidemic.

Different funds are available depending on the sector and size of the company:

  • Finnvera guarantees: the Government will make additional domestic financing of EUR 10 billion available to businesses, primarily in the form of Finnvera guarantees. Companies are advised to first contact their own bank.
    1. Less than 1m€ loan: Finnvera will extend the use of SME guarantee and start guarantee for purposes such as financing required to address the financial challenges caused by the coronavirus. Guarantee decisions on loans of less than one million euros granted by banks can be made quickly.
    2. More than 1m€ loan: Guarantee decisions for loans larger than one million euros require an assessment process at Finnvera, which is why the decision-making takes longer. Finnvera website
  • Business Finland’s grant authorisations will be increased by EUR 150 million to permit immediate business support measures and is available by application as normally. Business Finland
  • Finnish Industry Investment, together with other investors, is prepared to provide additional financing to private equity funds and its investee companies to cater to any needs arising from the coronavirus. However, private equity investment activities only involve a limited number of Finnish businesses, compared with SMEs that are Finnvera’s customers. Finish Industry Investment
  • The Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres) can grant business development aid to companies negatively impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. More info and elegibility criteria
Useful links

France

Last update: 14/8/2020

Contact

Matthieu Monnier
Deputy CEO
+33 (0)1 42 60 07 41 (Office)
[email protected]

The French Wind Energy Association (FEE)
5, avenue de la République
75011 Paris – France
www.fee.asso.fr

Restrictions on economic activity

Crucial activities to remain open:

  • Waste management
  • Packaging
  • Energy supply
Restrictions on free movement of people & goods

Individuals travelling from EU/EEA states + the United Kingdom are allowed to enter France without restrictions. They won’t have to present a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival in France. However, travellers coming from other countries are encouraged to have a negative test. They will also be advised about the conditions for carrying out a two-weeks quarantine in France.

Economic relief measures

For businesses, the Government has announced the following measures:

  • Payment deadlines for social and / or tax payments (URSSAF, taxes);
  • In the most difficult situations, direct tax rebates can be decided within the framework of an individualized examination of the requests;
  • Suspension of rents, water, gas and electricity bills for SMEs in difficulty
  • Aid of 1,500 euros for all small businesses, the self-employed, and micro-enterprises thanks to the solidarity fund;
  • Mobilization of the State to the tune of 300 billion euros to guarantee bank cash lines which companies may need because of the epidemic;
  • Support from the State and the Banque de France (credit mediation) to negotiate with its bank a rescheduling of bank credits;
  • Maintaining employment in companies through the simplified and reinforced partial unemployment system;
  • Support for the treatment of a conflict with customers or suppliers by the Business Mediator;
  • Recognition by the State and local authorities of Coronavirus as a case of force majeure for their public markets. Consequently, for all State and local public contracts, the delay penalties will not be applied
Useful links

Germany

Last update: 14/8/2020

Contact

Beatrix Fontius
VDMA
+49 69 6603 1886
[email protected]
g

Lockdown easing measures

On 6 May the German government announced updated regulations on COVID-19:

  • The contact restrictions were extended to June 5. The restrictions have been eased slightly. It is now allowed for people from two different households to meet indoors and outdoors. The social distancing rule of 1,5m remains unchanged.
  • Service providers and craftsmen are allowed to work again. All shops and manufacturing plants (independent of size) are allowed to open again, as long as they provide and implement hygiene rules. Home Office remains recommended, whreever possible.

The step-wise easing of existing restrictions will be decided at state level (Bundesländer):

  • The result will be different regulations from Bundesland to Bundesland. This applies for contact restrictions, opening of schools, theatres, cinemas and universities as well as for travel restrictions.
  • Journeys within Germany might also be affected by different regulations at state level. Before travelling, it’s advised to consult the website of the respective Bundesland.
Restrictions on economic activity

Germany did not impose strict restrictions on economic activity and therefore economic activity has largely continued.

Restrictions on free movement of people & goods

Germany has lifted all entry restrictions from travellers from other EU/EEA countries and the United Kingdom. However, rules have been introduced for people returning from risk areas. Individual rules on how to quarantine can differ between Germany’s Länder. In general, those who have been in a risk area within the last 14 days must:

  • under these agreements, proceed directly to their destination following entry into Germany,
  • self-isolate at home or suitable accomodation and
  • email or phone the competent authority, as a rule the health office in the place of residence/accommodation.

Up to 500 people can gather for indoor events, whether private or public. On Sept. 1, that number increases to up to 750 people. On Oct. 1, that number increases to up to 1,000. Social distancing and hygiene rules must be followed.

Up to 1,000 people can gather for outdoor events. Starting on Sept. 1, that number increases to up to 5,000. Events with more than 5,000 people are prohibited through Oct. 24.

Economic relief measures

In order to keep the effects of the Corona crisis as low as possible for companies and the labour market, the Federal Government has launched extensive aid measures. The Guarantee for Entrepreneurial Financing will be broadened. This consists of four packages

  • Direct payments to SMEs
  • Reduced hours compensation for companies
  • Liquidity support for small and big companies
  • Delay in payment of taxes
Useful links

Greece

Last update: 23/7/2020

Contact

Panagiotis Papastamatiou
HWEA CEO
2 Tychis str., 152 33, Chalandri Athens Greece
Tel.: 0030 210 6816803
Fax: 0030 210 6816837

Restrictions on economic activity

No known restrictions on economic activities.

Restrictions on free movement of people & goods

All flights to Greece have been resumed except from countries that have been “seriously affected” by COVID-19. Transport by all form of maritime transport is also allowed again. The Greek authorities are conducting random tests upon arrival. Land borders have only been opened with Bulgaria. With the exception of the Promachonas land border, only essential travel is allowed over land. For non-essential travel through the Promachonas land border only travellers with a valid negative RT-PCR test performed up to 72 hours before entering the country will be allowed in. These certificates should be written in English and include the name and the passport or national ID number of the traveller.

Foreign travellers have to produce a negative COVID-19 test within the first 72 hours of their stay in Greece. They also have to fill in a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) in which they need to provide their contact details.

Find more information and the form for the PLF here: https://travel.gov.gr/#/

Economic relief measures

The Government have announced up to now 3 packages for the relief of the struggling companies i.e. the companies which have closed by a governmental decision (e.g. commercial shops) and the companies which suffers significantly by the CPO. Prerequisite for the support is the maintaining of the job positions. The main measures are:

  • the postponement for 4 months of all tax obligations, for 3 months of all social security obligations and the return of the tax which has been prepaid for the next year
  • support of the liquidity of the companies (1,8 bn euros from the Special European Investment Fund / 2 bn euros from EIB to the Banks for loans + 0,5 bn euros for guarantees / subsidy of some operational costs e.g. rental cost etc).
Additional information

Extensions of project deadlines due to the COVID-19 crisis:
The Hellenic Government has adopted a Legislative Act (OGJ A’75/30.3.2020) providing the following (article 55):

  1. Installation Licenses and binding Grid Connection Offers which were about to expire:
    • by 30/6/2020, are extended by 6 months
    • from 1/7 up to 31/12/2020, are extended by 4 months
  2. The deadlines for connecting projects which have been selected through auctions and had to be connected:
    • by 30/6/2020, are extended by 6 months
    • from 1/7 up to 31/12/2020, are extended by 4 months
  3. The effective date of the new Reference Values for non-auctions projects (which had been set at 1/1/2021) is extended by 4 months (i.e. at 1/5/2021).
  4. The deadline of the last subparagraph of article 3 par. 12 of Law 4414/2016 (which had been set at 30/9/2020) is extended by 4 months (i.e. at 30/1/2021).
  5. The deadline for acceptance of a binding Grid Connection Offer and submission of the required bank guarantee which falls within the period from the Legislative Act up to 30/6/2020, is extended by 2 months.
Useful links

Hungary

Last update: 14/8/2020

Contact

For Government info on the COVID-19 measures, it is possible to contact the Secretariat of the Operational Group responsible for the containment of the coronavirus infection: [email protected]

Restrictions on economic activity

Restaurants and cafes may reopen their terraces and shops may also reopen. From Thursday, June 18, shops will be open to everyone at any time of the day and venues with a capacity of less than 500 people can hold concerts both indoors and outdoors.

Restrictions on free movement of people & goods

From July 15, Hungary has changed the rules on entry into Hungarian territory based on a classification of country of origin according to three colours. The map can be found here.

Green: Travelers coming from these countries are allowed to enter Hungary without restrictions.

Yellow: Travelers coming from these countries must undergo a medical examination and remain in isolation for 14 days. A person arriving from abroad may enter Hungary from countries in the yellow category if he/she is a manager or employee of a Hungarian company or a company registered in the territory of countries in the yellow category which has an affiliated company in a country in the yellow category. Unrestricted entry is allowed if the person proves that he/she is traveling on business.

Red: Only Hungarians, permanent residents in Hungary and members of their families are allowed to enter Hungarian territory. They must undergo a medical examination and remain in isolation for 14 days.

All persons entering Hungary (including citizens of countries within the Schengen zone) must subject themselves to document check, body temperature measurement, and – if necessary – additional medical examination. The decision on granting entry to the country shall be made by authority personnel on site, based on the conditions and pre-requisites stipulated in the relevant decrees.

Foreign citizens arriving from abroad in passenger traffic may enter Hungary for the purpose of transiting if they subject themselves to medical examination on entry, and the medical examination does not establish the suspicion of COVID-19 infection.

Economic relief measures

The economic package includes grace periods on capital repayment and interest payment obligations for corporate and residential loans and financial leasing agreements, the maximisation of the annual percentage rate (APR) for new non-secured consumer loans, a freeze on rents, certain tax breaks and changes in employment law.

Ireland

Last update: 23/7/2020

Contact

General regulatory issues
Noel Cunniffe: [email protected]
COVID-19 issues
Johanna Cafferkey: [email protected]

Lockdown easing measures

Phase 1 of easing the lockdown measures in Ireland started on 18 May.

A phased return of outdoor workers (for example: construction workers, gardeners, including people working on allotments) was allowed. Social distancing requirements continue to apply. Source and further information

Restrictions on free movement of people & goods

The Irish Government composes a list of “green countries” every two weeks based on the situation in those countries. Citizens coming from countries on the list won’t have any restrictions on their movements. If you come from a country not on the list, a 14-day self-isolation is necessary. This applies even if you have no symptoms or have tested negative in another country.

Anyone entering the country has to fill in a COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form. The form has to be filled in before your travel. The local authorities may contact you during the 14 days after your arrival to verify that you are at the address.

If you travel to Ireland for essential work and this expertise is not available locally, you need to follow public health advice when you’re not working.

Useful links: https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/travel.html Documents required:

  • A work identification or a letter from employer indicating essential employee status, as well as one other form of identification.

Effective public health protocols in place at ports and airports include:

  • In the event of a suspected case, contact tracing forms will be distributed to all passengers and completed forms will be passed to HSE lead personnel at the incident site
  • Prior to disembarking, passengers will be advised to contact their GPs should they develop symptoms within the following 14 days

Guidance for supply chain workers

Economic relief measures

Support of the liquidity of the companies (1,8 bn euros from the Special European Investment Fund / 2 bn euros from EIB to the Banks for loans + 0,5 bn euros for guarantees / subsidy of some operational costs e.g. rental cost etc).

Italy

Last update: 14/8/2020

Contact

Alessio Cipullo
Elettricita Futura
E: [email protected]

Lockdown easing measures

The gradual easing of Italy’s lockdown started on 4 May with the following measures:

  • The manufacturing and construction sectors are returning to work, along with wholesale retailers linked to the active sectors
  • Retail activities remain suspended apart from those shops already authorised (food, personal hygiene, news agents, pharmacies, tobacconists, bookshops, stores selling clothes for children, those selling flowers and plants, and, very soon, bicycles).
  • People are also being allowed out to visit relatives and other loved ones, but they will have to wear facemasks and big family gatherings are not permitted. Visits to friends are not allowed.
  • Public transport: regional governments have the job of making sure services operate while social-distancing rules are respected. There are criteria limiting how many people can be inside a vehicle and it is obligatory to wear facemasks and, in some regions, single-use gloves.
  • Parks and public gardens are reopening, but children’s play areas are not and distances must be respected. Limitation on doing exercise only “in the vicinity of one’s home” has been removed. So it is possible to move, including via car, to reach the area where one wants to go jogging or do exercise.
  • Universities can hold exams and sessions for the presentation of degree theses, while respecting social-distancing. Laboratories can operate too as well as placement programmes.
  • Funerals are permitted but a maximum of 15 people can attend and facemaks must be worn. It is also possible to visit cemeteries but Masses remain banned for the moment.

Source and further information

Restrictions on economic activity

Economic activity has largely returned to normal in Italy. However, Gatherings of people in public places or places open to the public is still forbidden. It is still mandatory to respect the recommended social distance of at least 1 metre between one person and another.

Restrictions on free movement of people & goods

People travelling from EU/EEA countries and the United Kingdom are allowed to enter Italy for any reason including tourism. Individuals travelling from Romania and Bulgaria need to adhere to a compulsory 14 days quarantine upon entering Italy. Citizens who stayed in Croatia, Greece, Malta and Spain must submit a negative COVID-19 test conducted at most 72 hours before their return or undergo a molecular or antigenic test upon arrival at the airport or elsewhere within 48 hours of entering the country. They also have to notify the prevention department of the health authority of their entry into Italy.
Those travelling from non-European countries are allowed to enter Italy for:

  • proven work requirements
  • absolute urgency
  • health reasons
  • proven study requirements.

There is still an obligation of health surveillance and fiduciary isolation for all natural persons who enter Italy from States or foreign countries other than those belonging to the European Union, States party to the Schengen Agreement and the United Kingdom.

Economic relief measures

The Italian Government has adopted a law decree called “Cura Italia” (now being converted into law AS 1766) i.e. “Healing Italy”. In the Senate, the examination began on the 24th of March and amendments and modifications to the content are currently being discussed. Some of the main elements highlighted so far:

  • the effective impact of the ‘Cura Italia’ Decree is significantly higher than the nominal 25 billion euros and it will be at least 340 billion euros, which mainly includes the value of the credits and loans to businesses;
  • the Government is committed to outlining the contents of the ‘April Decree’ (that will introduce further relief and support measure for the economy), which should be operational before Parliament approval and which will take into account the additional restrictive measures adopted by the Government to contain the Coronavirus outbreak. In particular, those adopted with regard to companies will be considered;
  • all SMEs will be able to take advantage of loans, with banks that will not be able to request mortgage instalments until the 30th September 2020. The SME fund has been strengthened by 1.5 billion euros. This will allow to provide loans for over 100 billion euros in total. Measures are being considered to simplify and facilitate access to the Fund for multiple companies, including those that have between 250 and 499 employees;
  • in view of the emergency, a moratorium will be implemented for the delays of tax payments expected by the 20th of March;
  • the intervention of the European Investment Bank to guarantee liquidity for businesses is currently being considered, as well as the possibility of drawing further on the European budget, the StateSaving Fund European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and issuing a common European debt instrument, the so-called “Eurobonds”;
  • One of the objectives of the recent measures adopted is to implement a substantial bureaucratic administrative simplification to relaunch investments

Law Decree no. 6 established that the Regulatory Authority ARERA provides for temporary suspension, until 30th April 2020, the terms of payment of invoices, and the payment notices issued or to be issued, for the municipalities in the so-called “zona rossa”, i.e. the initial 11 municipalities located in Lombardia and Veneto firstly affected by the outbreak. In addition, ARERA provided the suspension, from the 10th of March to the 3rd of April 2020, of the disconnections of electricity and gas supply due to arrears of payments for households and small businesses. For electricity, this measure refers to all low voltage customers and, for gas, to all customers with consumption up to 200 Smc/year.

Measure are listed in the following:

  • 12th March 2020 – Approval of resolution 59/2020, which postpones all monitoring reports duties of distributors and suppliers until after April 3rd
  • 12th March 2020 – Approval of resolution 60/2020, which interrupts and resets all actions undertaken between March 10th and April 3rd by suppliers to recover the amounts due by defaulting clients (e.g. it is not possible anymore to interrupt the supply of gas or electricity until the client pays). ARERA has also instituted a fund that should be dedicated to refunding suppliers who cannot recover their clients’ debt because of the resolution.
  • 17th March 2020 – Approval of resolution 75/2020, which defines specific measures for the Lombardia and Veneto territories identified by the DPCM 23 February no. 6, where the coronavirus outbreak started. The payments of all bills for these territories is postponed until July, and suppliers will have to automatically grant customers the possibility to pay the amounts due in instalments. ARERA also instituted a mechanism to loan to suppliers a part of the money which they won’t be able to collect from their clients during this period.
  • 17th March 2020 – Approval of resolution 76/2020, which postpones for customers the date to renew the annual request to receive the so called “bonus sociale”, a discount of vulnerable customers’ bills
  • 24th March 2020 – Approval of resolution 86/2020 which postpones the terms provided for by regulation
  • 26th March 2020 – Approval of resolution 94/2020 which postpones terms of performance about disclosure obligations
  • 31st March 2020 – Approval of resolution 6942 regarding the continuity of “critical” services and related supply chains
  • 6 April 2020 – The Council of Ministers adopted a decree-law (not yet published in the Official Journal) which provides, among the main measures, a state guarantee mechanism for a total of around 200 billion in favour of banks that provide loans to businesses; measures aimed at ensuring the continuity of companies in the emergency phase; the strengthening of special powers in sectors of strategic importance and financial transparency obligations; postponement of tax obligations for workers and companies.
Additional information

Elettricità Futura is providing up-to-date information about the crisis in Italian and English here.

Non-exhaustive list of measures currently adopted by the Italian Wind Industry:

  • Smart Working has been activated for all office workers.
  • Business trip restriction (only urgent and necessary), avoid meeting until new indication.
  • Increase hygiene & cleaning; Personal (washing hands frequently), Service Center, Cars.
  • Self-Temperature measurement: technical employees are invited to take a self-temperature check before arriving at work and even when they are at work. To comply with data privacy legislation, it’s just a self-measurement without any traceability.
  • Service Team segregation: team members are fixed, and they will start directly from home without passing by Service Center
  • Limited access to Service Center/Warehouse: Upon request, Tools/Spare Parts will be prepared in dedicated box and left outside the building.
  • Social distance: Field Technicians are required to use mask and the related PPEs in every activity where the be the minimum distance of 1 meter cannot be guaranteed (i.e. Hub, Confined Spaces)
  • Shortage of Masks & PPEs: Based on the latest Prime Minister Decree the latest Surgical Masks have been equated to PPEs. During emergency period, Workers operating on the Italian environment are authorized to use masks without CE marking that have been produced in derogation from current regulations
  • Use & Dispose of PPEs: During Covid-19 emergency special attention should be paid when wearing and disposing of masks and other PPEs. Due to shortage of Masks many companies are thinking to implement sanitation procedure to allow the reuse. Currently no official sanitation protocol has been set.
  • First Aid during the Pandemic: To manage an eventual Resuscitation Cardiopulmonary (CPR), it has been advised to review the indication shared by IRC (Italian Resuscitation Council).
  • Information about the measures taken to all contractors and request to take as minimum the same measures.
Useful links:

 

Lithuania

Last update: 14/8/2020

Contact

Aistis Radavičius
LVEA
[email protected]

Restrictions on economic activity

Economic activity has mostly returned to normal in Lithuania.

Restrictions on free movement of people & goods

As of 10 August, all passengers arriving to Lithuania, either by air travel or by sea need to go through border control. They have to register with the National Public Health Centre (NVSC) by filling out forms on paper or online before disembarking. NVSC specialists will collect completed forms from travellers or check if they have filled them out online. The form can be found here.

Individuals entering Lithuanian from a country that the Government sees as a ‘risk area’ (countries with an incidence rate higher than 16 cases per 100,000 people over the last 14 days) will be limited. The entry of foreigners from those countries will be limited to exception cases and those allowed to enter will have to adhere to a 14-day self-quarantine. The list outlining these countries can be found here.

Lithuanian Government website on COVID-19

Economic relief measures

The Lithuanian government endorsed a €5 billion package of economic measures to mitigate the negative impact of the coronavirus for businesses and workers. This includes:

  1. €500 million for jobs and personal income protection, including an allowance for furloughed employees of at least 60% of the Minimum Monthly Wage;
  2. deferment or payment in instalments of electricity and natural gas bills from UAB Ignitis, and to recommend to municipalities to allow deferment or payment in instalments of utilities and heat energy;
  3. €500 million to maintain business liquidity, including immediate tax loans, deferred payments or payment in instalments in accordance with the agreed schedule without interest; stopping recovery actions on the basis of criteria of reasonableness; exemption of taxpayers from fines and penalties; possibility to defer payment of personal income tax. It is also recommended that municipalities exempt businesses from the commercial real estate and land taxes;
  4. an Economic and Financial Action Plan that provides for accelerating investment programmes and that reallocates EU investment funds to health, employment and business, accelerates the use of public budget funds for running costs, deploys all funds from the Climate Change and Road Maintenance and Development Programs, and accelerates renovation of apartment buildings;
  5. capital relief for banks, e.g. reduction of capital adequacy requirements, reduction of liquidity reserves, and reduction of other supervisory measures;
  6. €500 million to serve as a state guarantee limit to create or supplement existing financial instruments when the State assumes primary risk;
  7. €1 billion economic stimulus package, to consist of €500 million of additional investment and €500 million of additional guarantees.

Netherlands

Last update: 14/8/2020

Contact

Erik van Diest
NWEA
+31 6 403 962 50
[email protected]

Restrictions on economic activity

Economic activity in the Netherlands has returned to normal. This includes events that need a permit earlier. It is up to local authorities to decide whether organisers can satisfactorily ensure that those who attend the events will be able to stay 1.5 metres apart and to lay down any additional conditions they deem necessary. In restaurants, cafés and bars, reservations and pre-entry health checks are always mandatory. Nightclubs and similar dance venues will remain closed for the time being.

Restrictions on free movement of people & goods

Travellers from EU/EEA countries and the United Kingdom can travel to the Netherlands but are expected to follow the basic rules put up by the Dutch Government. However, Additional local measures may apply in certain Dutch cities and regions.

Rules that apply indoors and outdoors
Travelling to the Netherlands from abroad

Economic relief measures

The Dutch government has announced multiple economic measures to support for different sectors. The energy sector is not one of them until now. However, all entrepreneurs who expect a loss of turnover (at least 20% can apply to the UWV for a salary contribution for a period of three months (maximum 90% of the wage bill, depending on the loss of turnover). This allows companies to continue to pay their staff. The condition is that no staff may be made redundant for economic reasons during the subsidy period. This Temporary Emergency Measure Bridging for Work Retention (NOW) will be opened as soon as possible and will replace the current working time reduction scheme. Entrepreneurs can apply for the allowance for a decrease in turnover from 1 March.

The Guarantee for Entrepreneurial Financing will be broadened (Ministry of EZK).

Businesses that experience problems in obtaining bank loans and bank guarantees can use the Guarantee Business Financing scheme (GO). The government proposes to increase the GO’s guarantee ceiling from 400 million to 1.5 billion euros. With the GO, EZK helps both SMEs and large companies with a 50% guarantee on bank loans and bank guarantees (minimum 1.5 million – maximum 50 million euros per company). The maximum per company is temporarily increased to 150 million euros. The Cabinet is committed to providing all warranty space that is required.

Norway

Last update: 14/8/2020

Contact

Øistein Schmidt Galaaen
NORWEA
[email protected]

Lockdown easing measures

The following changes apply since 7 May:

  • The recommended size of groups who can meet is being increased from five to a maximum of 20, provided that people can keep at least a metre apart.
  • The prohibition against foreign travel for health personnel is repealed. However, the Government still advises against foreign travel. Anyone who has travelled outside Norway must go into quarantine when they return.
  • Employers should ensure that their employees can remain at least one metre apart throughout working hours. In parts of the country where employees need to use public transport, employers are urged to facilitate working from home and virtual meetings as far as possible, and to require people to be physically present only when necessary. This applies particularly in the Oslo region and other towns where public transport can become congested.

The following changes will apply from 11 May:

  • Educational programmes for adults and immigrants may restart.
  • Universities, university colleges and vocational technical colleges are to continue remote teaching. Students who need to be at their institution to maintain progression in their study programmes may be granted access. They must comply with infection control guidelines.
  • Courses run by adult education associations and Skills Norway are to continue remote teaching.
  • Guidelines for sports activities will be published, focusing on activities for children and young people that involve physical contact, such as football.

Source and further information

Restrictions on economic activity

Economic activity has gone back to normal in the country. However, there are still limitations on public gatherings and events. Up to 200 people are allowed to gather for events in public places if they are able to keep one metre distance. Exceptions to this rule are made for players and support staff in the Norwegian football competition, performing artists during cultural events and children and youth under the age of 20 attending certain events.

Restrictions on free movement of people & goods

The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs still advises against any international travel that is not strictly necessary. It has made exceptions for countries and regions within the EU/EEA with a sufficiently low level of transmission. The Government has designed a colour system for travel, classifying countries with more than 20 confirmed cases per 100,000 inhabitants during the last two weeks or more than 5% positive COVID-19 tests on average per week over the last two weeks as red areas. It classified these as green areas. Yellow areas have increased risk, but quarantine is not required on arrival in Norway. The Government has decided to turn all green regions yellow, however. Anyone entering Norway from an area with a high level of infection must enter a 10-day quarantine. The map outlining which regions are red now can be found here. The classifying system also includes striped areas, the Government does not have sufficient information to make a judgment. You must also adhere to a 10-day quarantine if you return from these areas. Upon arrival in Norway, you should travel straight to an appropriate place to stay during quarantine, preferably with private transport.  If you must be in a public place or use public transport, use a face mask during the journey until you arrive at your destination.

Individuals who are not resident in Norway and arrive from a red or a striped zone must provide documentation upon arrival of their continuous residence at one registered address for the first 10 days of their stay in Norway. If one is staying less than 10 days the documentation requirement applies for the period the person is staying in the country.

Ministry of Health

Economic relief measures

A multi-phased economic stimulus package has been presented by the Government. A general overview of tax-related issues is covered in the KPMG link below. Industry-specific measures have been enacted, but so far nothing directly pertaining to the power industry. A NOK 100 bn. (€8,1 bn.) loans guarantee scheme is currently in place to help secure liquidity.

Persons on forced leave are granted full salary (for salaries up to NOK 599.000 (€48.000) gross) from day 3 to day 20 of leave. The state covers salary expenses for personnel on forced leave from day 2. The general unemployment benefits packages are adjusted: for instance, the activation threshold is lowered, in an effort to stimulate a “rolling forced leave” where applicable.

Poland

Last update: 23/7/2020

Contact

Aneta Wieczerzak – Krusińska
PWEA
Media and PR coordinator
Spokeswoman
M: +48 508 848 956
E: [email protected]

Measures on free movement of people and goods

Poland has reopened its borders on 13 June for traffic within the Schengen zone and on 17 July international flights were partially restored. Flights within the EU have been operating normally, except for those to the United Kingdom, Sweden and Portugal.

When coming from outside the EU, EU/EEA citizens, their children and spouses, and those holding permanent or temporary residence in Poland are allowed to enter. Those entering from outside the EU must undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Those coming from other EU countries do not.

Gatherings of up to 150 persons are now permitted. Wearing a face mask is no longer mandatory in public spaces if social distancing is observed. However, face masks is still mandatory in stores, public transportation, houses of worship, etc.

 

Useful links: https://www.gov.pl/web/coronavirus/travel

Economic relief measures

The government has either adopted or planned to adopt the following measures:

  • “Anti-crisis shield” for companies and employees
  • Epidemic status for companies and employees
  • Cancellation of tax arrears
  • Deferral of tax arrears
  • Installment of tax arrears
  • ZUS (Social Insurance Institution) contributions: relief for entrepreneurs in connection with coronavirus (only for entrepreneurs or selfemployes whose revenues dropped more than 50%)
  • Payment from the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS) of a one-time guaranteed monthly benefit of approximately PLN 2,000 PLN gross for persons employed under civil law contracts (orders, work) and self-employed persons.

The Ministry of Finance reminds that e-Declarations allow tax settlements without visiting the tax office

Detailed information about all the measures can be found here.

Useful links

Portugal

Last update: 23/7/2020

Contact

Pedro Jorge, President
APREN
T: +351 213 151 621
E: [email protected]

Restrictions on economic activity

Most economic activity in Portugal was restarted throughout May and June. Shops, cultural facilities and restaurants are open again. Though restaurants are still limited to 50% capacity.

Restrictions on free movement of people & goods

All people have to keep a distance of 2 meters and wear a face mask in public transport, shops and supermarkets, in closed spaces or in places with many people.

People are allowed to travel to Portugal without any restrictions. The archipelagos of Madeira and Azores are an exception. People travelling here need a negative COVID-19 test carried out not more than 72 hours before or take a test at the airport on arrival.

Economic relief measures

The government has announced and put in place the following economic relief measures:

  • Companies can postpone the taxes payment until the second semester;
  • Allocate a specific budget to help companies through funding;
  • Extraordinary and urgent measures to support the inheritance of the activity and employment (layoff, postponement of the Social Security payments, …)
  • Working with banks to support financing in special conditions (low interest rates, long tenors, simplified eligibility conditions …)

More info

Additional information

All deadlines and administrative procedures for the electricity sector have been suspended by Dispatch, mainly:

  • The suspension of procedural deadlines regulated by the legislation of the electric sector and by the Code of Administrative Procedure, including the deadlines for the practice of acts and formalities foreseen in the pieces of tenders;
  • The procedural deadlines that would expire during the suspension period will be extended until it is decreed that this suspension is over;
  • The submission of new requests is suspended for the attribution of:
    • capacity Reserve Titles;
    • agreements for the allocation of reception capacity in the RESP (public service electricity network);
    • registry of small capacity units and self-consumption units;
    • all electricity Production Permits (renewables included);
  • Permits for the establishment of network infrastructures (lines and extensions, transformer stations, substations, except those of public or private service that fit in situations considered to be an emergency by DGEG, for public health or other similar reasons)

The Ministry for the Environment and Climate Action unlocked however the administrative procedures for small production units (installed capacity < 1 MW) through dispatch, allowing the emission of a provisional certificate, instead of the operation certificate, during the state of emergency.

Romania

Last update: 14/8/2020

Contact

Mihai Balan
Romanian Wind Energy Association – RWEA
E: [email protected]
T: +40 742 066 570

Restrictions on economic activity

There are still limits to economic activity in Romania. Most businesses have been allowed to start up again. However, restaurants, bars and cafés are closed in Romania with the exception of terraces. Mouth masks are currently mandatory in public transport, in public institutions, in shops and in the workplace. In certain provinces they are also mandatory outdoors in busy places.

Restrictions on free movement of people & goods

EU nationals coming from a Member State with an infection rate equal to or lower than that of Romania may enter Romania without quarantine. However, if you were in a "high-risk country" (with a higher infection rate than Romania) in the past 14 days, you must be quarantined for two weeks after arriving in Romania. There are exceptions to this quarantine requirement for certain occupational categories. The Romanian Border Policy has made a list of countries they labelled as yellow. Those entering the Romania from any of those countries need to adhere to a 14-day quarantine. The full list of countries can be found here.

Economic relief measures

The Ministry of Economy, Energy and Business Environment issued “emergency certificates” to operators whose activity has been affected by COVID-19.

Compensation for labour-agreement suspensions: Through GEO 30/2020, employees whose labour agreements were suspended due to their employer’s initiatives in response to the pandemic will receive 75% from the base salary corresponding to their position. They cannot receive more than 75% of the average gross salary for the emergency period. The compensation will be paid from the unemployment insurance budget.

To be eligible, employers must fulfil one of the following conditions:

  • Business activity must cease totally or partially as a result of the state of emergency and each employer must hold a certificate for emergency situations.
  • Business activity diminishes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic with the employer lacking financial capacity to pay salaries. The employer can receive compensation for at most 75% of its employees with labour agreements in place at the time GEO 30/2020 went into force. For this category on diminished business activity, the indemnity will be paid based on an affidavit. This affidavit must prove that the employer experienced at least a 25% decrease in cashed receipts from the month prior to the one in which the affidavit was submitted compared to January and February 2020, and that the employer does not have the financial capacity to pay salaries to all its employees.

The indemnity is subject to income tax of 10% and social contributions, which the employer will compute and pay from amounts received from the unemployment agency.

Extension of payment deadline for local taxes: The deadline for payment of the first instalment of building, land and vehicle taxes has been postponed from March 31 to June 30.

Amendment on tax debt restructuring programme: GEO 29/2020 amends the 2019 tax debt-restructuring programme by extending the deadlines for notification to tax authorities about intentions to restructure tax liabilities. Tax payers now have until 31 July 2020 to notify the relevant authorities. Moreover, taxpayers should submit requests for debt -by 30 October 2020.

Reduced monetary interest rate: The National Bank of Romania (BNR) announced the reduction of the monetary interest rate to 2.0 percent starting with March 23rd.

Guarantees for SMEs: The Government increases the maximum total value of guarantees that can be given to local SMEs. They have increased the ceiling by RON 5 billion (EUR 1.04 bln). The Government is committed to increasing it by another RON 5 billion, if necessary, which can reach RON 15 billion. On site verification is no longer required before state aid payment.

Useful links

Spain

Last update: 24/7/2020

Contact

Piluca Núñez
Director
Communication and institutional relations
Asociación Empresarial Eólica- AEE
M. +34 669 717 343

Freedom of movement of people & goods

Spain has opened its borders with all EU Member States from 21 June. People entering the country won’t have to observe a compulsory quarantine. The Spanish borders are also open for people coming from Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and provisionally China. Find more information here All passengers arriving in the country by plane or ship get their temperature checked, which has to be lower than 37.5 degrees Celcius. They are also obliged to fill in a public health form. This can be done online or through the Spain travel health application. After filling in the form.

Within Spain, regional governments have imposed local lockdowns but these do not apply to the whole of the Spanish territory.

Economic relief measures
  1. Liquidity provision: €20 billion of government-secured loans: €10 billion for SMEs and the self-employed; €10 billion for large companies, which can request financing with a 70% government guarantee for new operations and a 60% guarantee for the renewal of existing contracts. Each bank will set the interest rate for the new guaranteed loans according to the solvency and risk of each company.
  2. Unemployment benefits and social security exemptions: All workers affected by a temporary collective layoff procedure (ERTE) will receive unemployment benefits, including those that would not normally be eligible. In cases of temporary contract suspensions or reduced working hours employers will be relieved of 100 percent of employer social security contributions where company employs fewer than 50 employees, and 75 percent for the rest. To access these benefits the employer must maintain the position for at least six months once activity is resumed.
  3. Tax deferrals: According to the Royal Decree Law of March 12, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) with a trading volume of €6 million or less may defer the payment of tax amounts due not exceeding €30,000 for up to six months, with no interest penalties to be applied during the first three months.

Sweden

Last update: 14/8/2020

Contact

Svensk Vindenergi
[email protected]

Restrictions on economic activity

No known restrictions on economic activity. Strong recommendation to work from home for those that are able to do so.

Restrictions on free movement of people & goods

The Swedish Government has decided to suspend non-essential travel to Sweden from countries outside the EU. This ban will stay in place until 31 August. This ban doesn’t apply to any EU/EEA countries, Switzerland, and the UK. The ban also doesn’t apply if you have a close relative having permanent residence or with a residence permit in Sweden.

Public gatherings and events with up to 50 participants are allowed in the country. If more people are present, the policy can cancel or disband any public gathering or event.

Economic relief measures
  1. Short-time work support: government to assume 75% of the cost for employee-reduced work hours. Effective from 7 April 2020, applicable to period 16 March 2020 to 31 December 2020.
  2. Expanded state guarantees for loans to businesses negatively affected by the coronavirus, covering up to 70% of new bank loans with an upper limit of SEK 75 million.
  3. Deferral of tax payments of up to three months, for a period of 12 months (upon application by company).
  4. Sick leave to be paid by government for April and May.
  5. Crisis package for jobs and transition: this proposal would see a temporary reinforcement of unemployment insurance, more aid for entrepreneurs and an expansion of vocational training.

Useful links

Turkey

Last update: 14/8/2020

Contact

Gulsah Altikulac
Foreign Affairs Specialist
Turkish Wind Energy Association
M. +905309734055

Restrictions on economic activity

Factories have not been requested to stop their production by the Government. Wind factories continue to operate normally.

Restrictions on free movement of people & goods

Most domestic and international flights to and from Turkey are now operating normally. Transit through Istanbul Airport is possible. It is currently possible to leave Turkey by land, but for the time being this is only possible via Bulgaria. Turkey did lift its own restrictions on entry to Turkish territory on June 12, which means that third-country nationals can enter Turkey through land, sea and air borders, with the exception of border posts with Iran.

All persons entering Turkish territory must complete an information form and be subject to health checks (at the border post or at the airport). People who show COVID-19 symptoms or a fever undergo a COVID-19 screening test. In case of a positive test, one is referred to a healthcare institution designated by the Turkish authorities.

Since 21 May, passengers for travel between Turkish cities by plane, train or bus must have a HES code (from the name of the "Hayat Eve Sığar" application). This code can be obtained: via the mobile HES application.

Economic relief measures

The government has adopted the following measures to help companies negatively impacted by the crisis:

  • Tax exemptions
  • Loans
  • Social benefits for employees

United Kingdom

Last update: 14/8/2020

Contact

Luke Clark
RenewableUK
+44(0)207 901 3037
[email protected]

Restrictions on economic activity

Economic activity has turned back to normal in the UK. There are still restrictions on private gatherings but these differ per area.

Restrictions on free movement of people & goods

The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office still advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. It has composed a list of countries where UK nationals can travel to. You can find the list here. When entering the UK you must be able to show a passenger locator form, which needs to be filled in online and can be showed on your phone or as a printed document. You may be fined up to £100 if you refuse to provide your contact details.

The rules related to self-isolation differ depending on whether you’re travelling to England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. You can find the individual rules by clicking the links.

Economic relief measures

Mostly related to small & medium-sized businesses and companies in the leisure, retail and hospitality sectors. The following schemes warrant a mention:

  1. UK Government to pay grants covering up to 80% of the salary of workers if applying companies keep them on their payroll rather than lay them off. Capped at £2,500 per month. Payments will cover the cost of wages backdated to 1 March 2020 and will begin arriving before the end of April. Scheme duration unclear.
  2. Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF): financial assistance to companies facing cash flow disruption as a result of the pandemic. The facility is designed to support liquidity among larger firms, helping them to bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through the purchase of short-term debt in the form of commercial paper.
  3. Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, which gives access to government-backed loans of up to £5 million for UK businesses (with an annual turnover of up to £41 million) that are suffering with cash-flow pressures during the crisis period; no interest due for the first six months, and a guarantee provided by the government of 80 percent on each loan.
  4. Q1 VAT payments deferred until end June 2020.

General UK Government guidance for businesses COVID Corporate Financing Facility

WindEurope Statements and webinars

30/7/2020

Resilient wind industry delivers 17% of Europe’s electricity, proves smart bet for Europe’s green recovery

The new WindEurope publication “The Impact of COVID-19 on Europe’s wind sector” analyses how the ongoing pandemic affected new installations, auction schedules, financing and electricity production in the first half of 2020. While the wind industry experienced disruptions in the first semester, installation levels were comparable to previous years and financing for new wind farms reached €14.3bn. The wind industry is uniquely positioned to contribute to a future-proof economic recovery under the €750bn EU recovery plan, 30% of which will go to green investments.

Read more

16/7/2020

The path to a green recovery: European Council has no time to lose

Tomorrow the EU Heads of State and Government meet in Brussels to try and reach agreement on a European recovery plan.

Read more

11/6/2020

EU Recovery Plan: it’s time to roll up our sleeves for a green recovery

The European Commission has tabled a Recovery Strategy of unprecedented scope: €1.85 trillion to counter the economic impacts of COVID-19.

Read more

4/6/2020

WindEnergy Hamburg Press Conference: Wind industry ready to deliver Europe’s green recovery

On 3 June, WindEurope participated in a press conference with co-organiser Hamburg Messe und Congress on the decision to postpone WindEnergy Hamburg until 1-4 December.

Read more

7/5/2020

Broad alliance of European countries calls for an EU industrial policy for renewables

In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, a clear majority of voices across Europe is calling out for an accelerated energy transition towards renewable energy sources. Different initiatives are asking European leaders to put the Green Deal at the heart of Europe’s economic response to the pandemic.

Read more

21/4/2020

A majority of EU countries support green recovery plans for Europe

In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, a clear majority of voices across Europe is calling out for an accelerated energy transition towards renewable energy sources. Different initiatives are asking European leaders to put the Green Deal at the heart of Europe’s economic response to the pandemic.

Read more

22/4/2020

Webinar: An electrifying future

Adam Barber, Managing Director at Tamarindo Group, is inviting you to grab a coffee and come and join him and Vattenfall’s Senior Vice President and Head of Business Area Wind, Gunnar Groebler, Chairman of WindEurope.

He asked Gunnar how he and the wider Vattenfall team are responding to the Covid-19 crisis, what that means for developers, utilities and the wider supply chain.

16/4/2020

Webinar: How wind industry leaders are tackling the COVID-19 crisis

Industry leaders, Philippe Kavafyan, CEO of MHI Vestas and Alfonso Faubel, CEO Onshore of Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, discuss the short and long term impacts of the COVID-19 on the wind industry and what needs to be done to minimise this negative impact. This talk was moderated by WindEurope’s Deputy CEO Malgosia Bartosik.

31/3/2020

Production of critical wind turbine components must continue – and will help cushion the blow of COVID-19

The COVID-19 crisis now has reaching impacts on the wind energy supply chain as European countries apply measures to contain the outbreak.

Read more

16/3/2020

Too early to assess the impact of COVID-19 on European wind energy deployment

The European wind industry is the global leader in the wind turbine market, realising projects in more than 80 countries world-wide. As such, our companies rely on both European and global supply chains for raw materials and components. The COVID-19 virus is impeding international trade, creating delays and uncertainties for different industrial sectors. As the number of infections rises, the European wind industry is likely to be impacted.

Read more

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