Decarbonisation needs 'more strategic approach'

The European wind power sector needs a seat at the table when a newly created forum of industry, academia and government representatives discusses moves towards a renewables-based energy system and more digitalised economy, industry body WindEurope has urged.

WindEurope believes the Industrial Forum can help create policies to help the wind power industry "thrive" (pic credit: STEAG)
WindEurope believes the Industrial Forum can help create policies to help the wind power industry "thrive" (pic credit: STEAG)

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The European Commission has called for a new Industrial Forum to be set up by September 2020, bringing together experts and policymakers to share knowledge that could be considered when preparing regulatory frameworks, availability of financing and trade defence instruments.

In its new 'Industrial Strategy', the Commission argued for a “more strategic approach” to clean energy industries to support the green and digital transitions.

The document followed the Commission's approval of the European Green Deal, which targets climate neutrality by 2050, and unveiling its Strategy on Shaping Europe’s Digital Future earlier this year.

WindEurope’s CEO Giles Dickson said the industry needs to be represented at the Industrial Forum, especially as the Commission acknowledged offshore wind will play a key role in decarbonisation under its European Green Deal.

“The forum should draft the policies the European wind industry needs to thrive,” Dickson said.

“This includes developing a European export strategy for renewables that looks not only at third-country market access, but also at how national export credit agencies can support the European industry in the face of state-financed Chinese competition.

“The forum should also consider how the concept of alliances can be leveraged to develop innovative renewable energy technologies.”

Collaboration

The green and digital transitions will require more collaboration between different sectors of the economy and prompt an increase in electricity consumption, the Commission said.

A “prime example” of an area where cross-sector industrial alliances can "add real value" is with clean hydrogen, the Commission added.

“(Clean hydrogen) is disruptive in nature and requires stronger coordination across the value chain," it explained.

The EC will “shortly” propose the creation of a new European Clean Hydrogen Alliance to bring together investors, government, institutional, and industrial partners.

“The Alliance will build on existing work to identify technology needs, investment opportunities and regulatory barriers and enablers,” the Commission added. 

Similar alliances should also be set up for low-carbon industries, industrial clouds and platforms, and raw materials at a later date, the Commission added.

The Industrial Strategy also precedes new European Union (EU) strategies due to be published on developing offshore renewable energy, as well as on access to raw materials — which the Commission described as “crucial” for clean energy industries.

“If the European Green Deal is to deliver climate neutrality by 2050, the EU needs to accelerate the deployment of wind energy.

“The Commission sees wind being half of Europe’s electricity by 2050. And it’ll be a big part of the renewable hydrogen the EU wants more of," WindEurope’s Dickson added.

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