On 24 March 2022, EUREC contributed to a joint letter “To REPowerEU we must REPower Cleantech”. Fifteen organisations joined forces in a letter proposing FitFor55 policy changes & investment to act for peace, freedom and our climate future. This letter was addressed to the EU Commission, EU Parliament and 27 Permanent Representations of EU Member States.
Since then, Environment Ministers from 11 EU Member States (Austria, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Finland, Ireland, Lithuania, Latvia, Netherlands, Sweden, Slovenia) published a Joint statement Ambitious Fit for 55 and EU energy independence – the smart, necessary and desirable crisis response in the light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The letter was re-sent to those 11 Environment Ministers as suggestion for how exactly to make their ambitions for a 55 reality.
Read more about the policy recommendations in the section below. Read the joint-letter here.
Policy recommendations to free Europe from its dependence on Russian fossil fuels and accelerate a just energy transition to full fossil independence.
The signatories of this letter urge you to support the following immediate policy actions:
– Safeguard and increase the budget of the ETS Innovation Fund, one of the key instruments to scale up EU clean technologies
– Fast-track deployment of carbon contracts for difference (CCFDs) in key hard-to-decarbonise sectors and at the EU level through the Innovation Fund.
– Use RePowerEU and its upcoming action plan to ensure the Energy Efficiency First Principle is being applied across public financial instruments, including Recovery and Resilience Plans and financial outlays at the Member State level.
– Ensure equity and de-risking investments in EU cleantech companies are prioritised in recovery funds.
– Increase the European Investment Fund’s allocation to clean technology development and deployment.
– Ensure that unabated fossil gas is excluded from the Sustainable EU Taxonomy.
Energy efficiency and embodied carbon
– Use ambitious and nationally binding targets in the recast Energy Efficiency Directive to signal energy demand reduction pathways, ensuring large-scale deep renovations of residential buildings are delivered and help trigger and advance innovations in insulation, windows, heating systems, smart thermostats and building control systems. This would support the deployment of innovative energy efficiency measures for homes*, industry* and tertiary buildings*.
– Expand green public procurement programs to include green cement, steel and other green construction materials to create market incentives for producers.
– Increase financial support to industrial-scale and turnkey renovation schemes to deliver a large-scale deployment of buildings renovation, onsite solar, heating and cooling networks and heat pumps.
– Ensure that the EPBD’s Minimum Energy Performance Standards are aligned with climate neutrality and security objectives and that Member States use Mortgage Portfolio Standards to accelerate lenders’ engagement in driving the EU Renovation Wave.
– Ensure new buildings constructed as of 2025 are very high energy performing and use 100% renewables.
– Use the Sustainable Product Initiative to require transparency across the buildings’ supply chain, with digital EN-standard Environmental Product Declarations certificates required in structural components and materials.
– Create a framework for companies operating renewable energy installations to voluntarily share (with each other and with researchers) large datasets related to their installations with the purpose of optimising energy production.
– Building owners, tenants and managers should be given full access to their energy data and may choose to pass it on to third parties such as researchers. Publicly owned buildings’ data should generally be freely, fully and rapidly available to researchers.
– Ensure that the only new cars and heavy duty vehicles that can be sold in Europe by 2035 are zero-emission vehicles. This would accelerate the electrification of transport, with positive spillover also for larger vehicles like buses, trucks*, planes* and agricultural equipment.
– Implement credible targets for sustainable aviation fuels in ReFuelEU Aviation, including an e-fuels target of 0.1% in 2025, 2% in 2030 and increasing to 7% in 2035.
– Ensure the deployment of hydrogen and ammonia infrastructure for the maritime sector, and measures to incentivise these e-fuels.
– Deploy a massive EU-wide charging network* for electric cars and trucks. Ensure all Member States guarantee that parking space owners in residential and non-residential buildings are seamlessly able to install, at their own expense, an EV charge point without any further approval or procedure, other than the prior communication to the building co-owners, by implementing a right to plug provision.
Renewable Energy, grid and storage
– Ensure the EU grid can absorb an increased share of intermittent renewables. Specifically:
○ Speed up the deployment of complementary technologies that can be more reactive and manageable.
○ Strengthen and modernise EU electricity grids through priority investments on software and hardware innovations for grid mapping*, transmission efficiency* improvements* and optimisation*.
○ Introduce long-duration electricity and seasonal thermal storage targets and roadmaps for each Member State. This includes power to gas*, but also grid-scale batteries* and hydrogen storage*
– Develop renewable heating solutions, such as individual heat pumps or solar heat for district heating*.
– Ensure new dependencies from Russian fossil energies do not arise from the deployment of low-carbon technologies.
– Follow Rapporteur Piepers’ suggestion to set a target alongside the 2030 renewable energy target for at least 5 % of newly installed renewable energy capacity to be from innovative renewable energy technology.
– Reinforce and promote special regimes (e.g., regulatory sandboxes and carbon contracts for difference) to support innovative renewables like wave power*, advanced geothermal*, floating offshore wind*, and building-integrated solar*.
Gas, methane, hydrogen, TEN-E and infrastructure
– Immediately extend methane regulation to the full domestic value chain, and imports, to cut methane emissions from leakage, venting and flaring, whether domestic or imported gas, and whether via pipeline or LNG.
– Ensure ambitious standards are set and implemented to include all upstream emissions of “low-carbon hydrogen” production, including minimum carbon capture rates and maximum methane leakage thresholds.
– Maintain the binding 50% renewable hydrogen consumption target in priority industrial sectors and 2.6% renewable fuels from non-biological origin target in limited fit-for net-zero sectors. This would help scale the renewable hydrogen production* capacity throughout Europe.
– Prioritise the use of renewable hydrogen and derived e-fuels in sectors that already consume hydrogen or are hard-to-electrify and have no other decarbonisation alternatives, such as heavy industry and energy intensive transport notably aviation and shipping.
– Facilitate the availability of additional renewable electricity generation to enable the rapid scale-up of renewable hydrogen production to solve the renewables permitting bottleneck and avoid creating additional barriers for project developers in the upcoming delegated act on additionality.
– Look to optimise the redeployment of gas infrastructures for CO2 storage and transport infrastructure.
– Introduce a carbon floor price in EU ETS to provide predictability to investors, thus helping to de-risk their projects and ease their access to private finance.
– In perspective, introduce a carbon border adjustment mechanism that also includes hydrogen and hydrogen-based products (such as ammonia), including their whole life cycle emissions (for instance, targeting electricity content and upstream methane emissions).
– By 2030, phase-out all EU ETS free allowances to all sectors (i.e. both those covered and not covered by the carbon border adjustment mechanism). Those allowances should be granted to the Innovation Fund that can invest in the best clean innovation projects. This would boost investments in electrification pathways for industry, for instance by producing steel via renewable hydrogen direct reduction*; and incentivise the replacement of fossil inputs by bio-based input* in chemistry.
N.B. Hyperlinks marked with an asterisk* refer to European companies that are examples of the specific technologies mentioned in this letter.