13 March 2018 | Michele Zuin, ICLEI Europe

WinWind to contribute to European Union goal to increase the share of Renewable Energy

The European Union wants to use more renewables to meet its energy needs, lower its energy import dependence and drive technological innovation and employment across Europe. Renewable energy produced from wind in wind energy scarce regions is the backbone of the H2020 project WinWind. Citizens are at the heart of WinWind; driving the  EU’s goals, taking up ownership of the energy transition, benefiting from new technologies to reduce their energy bills and participating actively in the market[1].

What are the EU goals on renewable energy?

The 2020 renewable energy targets are set in the EU's Renewable energy directive, with a binding target of 20% of the EU's final energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020. To reach this goal all EU Member States have committed to their own national renewable energy targets ranging from 10% in Malta to 49% in Sweden, and adopting national renewable energy action plans showing the steps they need to take to meet their goals.With 2030 being arround the corner, the EU countries have already agreed on the next renewable energy target of at least 27% by 2030: this is going to be part of the EU's energy and climate goals for 2030.

The proposal for a revised Renewable Energy Directive published on 30 November 2016 is the reference framework for our continent’s renewables. It was published by the Commission as part of a whole new package of measures - the "Clean Energy for All Europeans" package – whose goal it is to provide a stable legislative framework to facilitate the clean energy transition and to enable the EU to deliver on its Paris Agreement commitments.

The same framework also includes the aim to provide fair deals for consumers, which is of utmost importance for WinWind: “paving the way to lower consumer bills, a better quality of life at home and in the workplace, and more opportunities for individuals to produce their own clean energy”.

More grassroots initiatives for Europe

The new EU energy system calls for more bottom-up initiatives and “energy democracy”. Local citizen participation in Renewable Energy Sources (RES) projects through RES communities already has resulted in substantial added value in terms of local acceptance of RES and access to additional private capital. This is coherent with Article 22 of the revised renewable energy directive[2], setting new provisions on energy communities to empower them to participate in the RES market. In the context of WinWind this is to be pursued through capacity building, exchange of best practices and financial services. Through grassroots initiatives and participatory approaches cities will be encouraged to activate initiatives to produce their own energy and to enhance the framework conditions for prosuming.

WinWind consumers at the centre of the European Energy Union: Learning laboratories and transfer of best practices

In coherence with the Commission’s approach, consumers in WinWind are set at the centre of the Energy Union. As energy is a critical good, clean energy transition needs to be fair for sectors, regions or vulnerable parts of society which will be affected by it: a consumers and community based approach as it is foreseen in Winwind embraces this transition in coherence with the EU goals.

Key project lessons will be translated into practical policy recommendations mainly addressing local or regional, and where relevant national decision-makers. In addition the project will also identify cross-country lessons for decision-makers at European level, producing guiding principles and criteria for fair (socially inclusive) wind energy.

The WinWind guiding principles and criteria for fair wind energy will be created based upon both, project outcomes and emerging voluntary bottom up initiatives (like voluntary agreements or regional labels for project developers). They will impact  regional, national or Europe-wide policy development and which will be good “food for thought” for EU decision makers when the final revised RE Directive will be negotiated and adopted.

[1] In coherence with “European Commission (EC) (2015c): Delivering a New Deal for Energy Consumers. COM(2015) 339 final”.
[2] European Commission (EC) (2016c): Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Promotion of the Use of Energy from Renewable Sources (recast) COM(2016) 767 final.

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