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Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, the electricity industry continued to provide around-the-clock services, proving its agility and reliability amid restrictive lockdown measures. The power sector is committed to help the EU’s recovery with shovel-ready projects that can reignite the economy, deliver immediate jobs and produce long-term environmental benefits.
Electrification is a critical enabler of EU’s economic recovery and closely interlinked with Europe’s Green Deal ambitions. It is therefore essential to invest and tackle the barriers that have hampered an accelerated electrification of buildings, transport and energy intensive industries, during the first quarter of 2020.
Enabling the roll-out of EV charging infrastructure could help revive local manufacturing capacities and create jobs. Only 17% of the 1 million public charging points needed by 2025 have been deployed, and multiple installation projects have been postponed or cancelled this year. Restarting the infrastructure deployment is critical for the sustainable recovery of the automotive sector.
Additionally, building renovation and electrification holds a significant potential to reignite the European economy. Today, merely 25% of Europe’s buildings stock is energy efficient. But, coupling insulation projects with the shift to electric heat pumps would bring direct efficiency gains and reduced energy bills. Moreover, such programmes could help create about 1.4 million local jobs.
Magnus Hall, Eurelectric President, said:
“The European recovery strategy should help accelerate our transition to a cleaner future. By prioritising investments in areas such as fossil-free energy, EV charging infrastructure, distribution grid reinforcements and electrification of heating systems, we have a unique opportunity to stimulate employment and address the climate challenge at the same time.”
Utilities have seen a significant impact on their revenues amid a plummeting electricity demand, moratoria on bills and low electricity prices. This year, investments of utilities are expected to fall by up to 15%, while the electricity demand will drop 6 to 10%.
In spite of these difficulties the power sector continued to decarbonise the generation mix. Renewables covered more than 40% of the electricity generation, thanks to favourable weather conditions and more capacities coming online. At the same time, coal was progressively pushed out of the mix, its output falling by 27.5 % in the first four months of the year, compared to 2019.