REPowerEU: a European action plan for energy self-sufficiency and greener energy
On May 18, 2022, the European Commission approved REPowerEU, an ambitious plan to rapidly reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels.
The plan follows the mandate given by the European Council, bearing in mind the energy crisis made worse by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and is based on 4 axes, in close articulation with the European Green Deal and the “Fit for 55” package:
– Energy Saving
– Diversification of energy sources
– Accelerating the transition to clean energy
– Smart investment
With regard to investment, funds from the Recovery and Resilience Facility will be channeled towards REPowerEU actions, both existing funds and additional funds totaling about 245 billion euros.
In the short term, the Commission intends, among other things:
– To have a rapid roll-out of solar, wind and renewable hydrogen projects that will avoid 50 bcm of gas imports;
– To avoid another 17 bcm of gas imports through increased production and biomethane;
– To have the first Europe-wide hydrogen projects approved by summer 2022.
In order to finance the goals of REPowerEU, the following actions are proposed:
– Transfer to the Recovery and Resilience Facility of part of the national allocations of funds under the Cohesion Policy and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development;
– The opening of new calls for proposals for Projects of Common Interest covered by the Connecting Europe Facility;
– The doubling of the Innovation Fund in 2022 to € 3 billion;
– Additional fiscal measures, private investment and support from the European Investment Bank.
In terms of legislative proposals, the Commission is proposing amendments to the Renewables, Energy Performance of Buildings and Energy Efficiency Directives, as well as amending the Regulation establishing the Recovery and Resilience Facility.
REPowerEU now needs to be implemented through the approval of the Commission’s legislative proposals, as well as the adoption by the Member States of the necessary measures within their sphere of competence, including the amendment of their Recovery and Resilience Plans to include chapters specifically dedicated to this topic and the implementation of the Commission’s recommendations to streamline permitting procedures, namely for solar and wind power plants and renewable hydrogen production.
The effectiveness of REPowerEU in Portugal will depend largely on the urgency that the Government is able to grant to amending the RRP and launching the respective calls for tender. A new and necessary round of simplification of administrative procedures relating to renewable energy projects (giving more ambition and effectiveness to the regime of Decree-Law 30-A/2022 of 18 April) will contribute greatly to the implementation in Portugal of the program announced by the European Commission.
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