Renewable energy sources? Yes! At any price? No!

(EurActiv, 23 Nov 2022) In the name of accelerating the energy transition and filling the gap left by Russian gas, the European Commission risks pushing a proposal that is not only potentially damaging to the environment but also undemocratic, writes Zoltan Kun.

Zoltan Kun is a nature conservation specialist and wilderness advocate.

The Proposal for a Council Regulation to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy, slated for adoption by the Energy Council on 24 November, states that renewable energy projects and energy grid expansion are “presumed as being in the overriding public interest and serving public health and safety” – thus allowing projects to proceed with only superficial environmental review in Natura 2000 sites and national designated protected areas.

While provisions for expediting the deployment of solar energy on existing structures and increasing the installation of heat pumps make sense, the prospect of energy infrastructure development in protected areas and forest logging for biomass is chilling.

The proposal admits that the European Commission has not conducted any assessment, meaning no one has demonstrated that developing protected areas is necessary to meet renewable energy goals. For the NGO community, it’s clear that the proposal is a way to greenwash the gutting of the Habitats and Birds Directives.

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EurActiv, 23 Nov 2022: Renewable energy sources? Yes! At any price? No!