WindEurope CEO on the state of play as we enter 2022 | WindEurope
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WindEurope CEO on the state of play as we enter 2022

CEO Foreword

Dear WindEurope Member,

I hope you’ve had a good start to the year. I wish you all the best for the months ahead.

You may have seen the message our Chairman Andreas Nauen sent last week with the WindEurope Work Programme for 2022 – setting out our ‘must-wins’ for the year. The stand-out priorities are:

the simplification of permitting rules and procedures;

  • grid expansion;
  • electrification; and
  • Government action to support the competitiveness of the European wind energy supply chain.

Energy prices may fall slightly this year but are likely to remain much higher this year than they were for most of the last decade. This means energy will remain a top political issue. Most Governments have handled the high prices in the right way by lowering taxes on electricity to protect vulnerable households and small businesses. And most have recognised that the high gas prices (which are the root of the problem) make it even more important that Europe accelerates the build-out of renewables. But high energy prices make politicians more sensitive about the cost impact of the energy transition on consumers. It will be all the more important to show that wind helps bring down energy bills – and brings wider economic benefits to communities.

The EU are doing and saying the right things on all these issues. And the EU Commission will give us an important helping hand this year when they issue guidance to Governments on how to simplify their permitting procedures for renewables.

Even more encouragingly, the new German Government is planning great things for wind:

  • they want to build up to 10 GW a year of new onshore between now and 2030 (Europe as a whole installed 12 GW onshore wind in 2020) – and to set aside 2% of Germany’s land area for wind energy;
  • they’ve increased the 2030 offshore wind target from 20 GW to 30 GW; and
  • they want to radically streamline permitting procedures and strike a new balance between onshore wind and species protection.

Read our analysis of the German Government’s plans here.

In the Netherlands it’s a similar story. A new four-party Government is prioritising climate action and renewables. They want to raise their 2030 target from 11.5 to 22 GW (from 2.9 GW installed today).

The big political event of the year for us will be the French elections. Wind power has been a polarising issue in France recently, so the outcome will be key. Elsewhere, we’ll be continuing to lean on the Polish Government to soften the 10h distance rule – and we remain optimistic this will happen. And we’ll be working with the national Associations to coordinate our efforts on this.

Right before Christmas the EU published its new State Aid Guidelines for Energy. These Guidelines are the rules on what national Governments can and cannot do when it comes to supporting wind energy. The new Guidelines are helpful to us: Governments can continue to hold technology-specific auctions and endorse revenue stabilisation mechanisms such as 2-sided CfDs. See our piece on this here.

Our key event of the year is the WindEurope Annual Event in Bilbao on 5-7 April. Registration is now open, and so are stand sales – but exhibition space is selling fast! You can look at the floorplan here and get in touch with our team to land the right spot.

With that I’d like to wish you all the best for the year ahead.

Kind regards,

Giles Dickson

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