Brussels updates rules for fast-track renewable zones, restricted auctions

(EurActiv, 14 May 2024) To get Europe on track for its 2030 renewables targets, the European Commission has provided new guidelines to EU countries for fast-track deployment zones while opening the door to more restrictive renewables auctions.

The original REPowerEU – a plan to wean Europe off Russian fossil fuels by 2028 following the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine – was tabled in May 2022. Former European commissioner and Green Deal lead Frans Timmermans said it would make Europe “master of its own destiny.” 

It had a transformative scope: high-ambition biogas and hydrogen targets, as well as more pragmatic renewable energy and savings targets. 

To boost the deployment of renewables – neither wind nor solar are on track for their 2030 targets, the University of Columbia found in late 2023 – the revamp comes in three stages.

“Today’s guidance from the Commission will help Member States to accelerate the deployment of renewables,” said Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson in a statement on Monday (13 April). 

The Commission offers new guidance on how EU countries can select areas where wind or solar are automatically fast-tracked—each country must have at least one such zone by February 2026—new support for permitting procedures, and a step away from price-based renewables auctions.

Among the EU’s renewables lobby groups, the reaction was mostly positive. 

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EurActiv, 14 May 2024: Brussels updates rules for fast-track renewable zones, restricted auctions