15 June: Power sector recommendations for a green recovery
Eurelectric releases today a set of policy recommendations for a smooth and efficient recovery of the power sector. They address the necessary measures for tackling the negative impacts of lockdowns on several segments of the electricity value chain, including generation, distribution grids, markets, as well as retail and customer services.
The COVID-19 outbreak has pushed the EU economy into one of the biggest crises of the century. An assessment conducted by Eurelectric throughout the lockdown period shows that the entire electricity value chain was affected by the measures taken to limit the spread of the virus.
To reset its activity and accelerate the clean energy transition, the power sector call for:
- The establishment of concrete measures for ramping up the deployment of zero carbon infrastructure projects, as well as for closely monitoring the risk of shortage of critical materials and of skilled workforce (i.e. construction and maintenance) via the national recovery plans.
- Stimulating capital-intensive investments in carbon-neutral generation through an efficient framework that provides long-term visibility and certainty.
- Supporting the electrification of buildings and transport, while paving the way for ambitious skilling objectives for workers, through the Renovation wave initiative.
- Enabling the equipment of entrants to the labour market with the right skills and provide access to adequate reskilling and upskilling for experienced employees, particularly in digital and new technologies.
- The preservation of the financial capacity of distribution grids and the mitigation of economic risks for electricity suppliers, as they have been directly impacted by the break on bills and delayed payments.
The full list of recommendations, building on responses provided by the majortity of Eurelectric's members, is available here.
14 May: Rising expectations for a ready-to-use EV charging infrastructure
This year, electric vehicles registrations almost doubled, counting nearly 170.000. Early May, car manufacturers, including Volkswagen and Renault, announced relaunching the production of their electric models, supporting the transport sector’s transition towards clean mobility. Electrified vehicles accounted for 6,8% of passenger car sales in the first quarter of 2020, according to new figures from the European automotive industry trade body, ACEA.
Expectations for a ready-to-use charging infrastructure are also growing. However, a survey carried out by Eurelectric shows that the rollout of EV chargers was postponed in 11 European countries, amid procurement and manufacturing delays caused by the lockdown measures.
In Finland, France, Hungary, Portugal and the UK some projects have been completely halted. In some cases, private users cancelled the installation of their charge points, due to the uncertainty regarding the spread of the coronavirus. In other cases, the shutdown of commercial buildings hampered the planned installations, or caused the postponement of decisions to invest in new infrastructures.
Mobility restrictions across Europe significantly reduced the use of both private and public charging points, with Hungarian and Ukrainian operators observing a 50-70% drop since the start of the crisis.
The slump in electricity demand is likely to lead to income declines of up to 70 %, affecting in the short to medium term the investment is new charging infrastructures.
The Green Deal target of installing 1 million charging points by 2025 could be a near miss, unless the recovery programmes pave the way towards clean e-mobility.
Kristian Ruby, Secretary General of Eurelectric, said: “The deployment of public charging infrastructure is an absolutely critical poriority for Europe right now. Whether it’s economic recovery or climate efforts, we will rely on this infrastructure. Policy makers should pull out all stops to have it rolled out as quickly as possible”
16 April: Renewables take the reins of EU power generation
This spring, wind, solar and hydro are taking the reins of EU power generation. Favourable weather conditions pushed wind and solar output to record highs and triggered negative spot and day-ahead electricity prices in France, Germany, Ireland and UK.
The generation mix across Europe is embarked in a deep decarbonisation process. During the first quarter renewables represented 52 % of the German generation mix. While in April, renewables and nuclear covered 121% of the French domestic consumption.
While renewables are taking an increasing share of the daily generation, the further buildout is at risk: supply chain disruptions are causing delays on equipment such as solar panels. Lockdown measures are hindering movement of staff and materials for construction sites. In addition, the investment capacity of utilities is sinking due to lower power prices and political uncertainty.
Climate efforts should not be diluted as the EU addresses the health and economic crisis triggered by the COVID-19 outbreak. It is now essential to revise the ETS and ensure that carbon price signals don’t have adverse effects on the power mix.
04 April: Investment capacities fall amid COVID-19 impact
In 14 European countries a temporary moratorium has been announced on energy bills. In some countries, they have been decided by governments or energy regulators. In others, they have been announced by utilities themselves to relieve consumers faced with financial difficulties. Across Europe, there is a general commitment not to disconnect customers.
Coupled with a shrinking electricity demand and plummeting power prices, the energy bill moratoria are likely to have an impact on the capacity of utilities to invest. Rather than opting for new investments, companies are seeking to limit costs to safeguard liquidity and ensure stable operations.
Overall, new investments of utilities are likely to decrease 10-15%.
Economic recovery measures, amounting around € 1880 billion, have been announced by governments in EU Member States to address the immediately impacted industries. Yet, for a sustainable recovery, Europe’s plans should also concentrate on delivering the energy and climate ambitions.