Dear Mr President-elect,
Dear Jean-Claude Juncker,
In 2011, the transmission grid operators in nine European nations, serving over half of Europe’s population, plus ten NGOs with a collective European membership in the millions, came together to sign the European Grid Declaration on Electricity Network Development and Nature Conservation, jointly supporting existing nature conservation laws.
Since then, industry and civil society have been working together through the “Renewables Grid Initiative” (RGI) to improve the public acceptance of grid development. This cooperation is based on the clear commitments by all sides to supporting the infrastructure investments that are needed to integrate increasing shares of renewables energy sources into the grid, improving public engagement and protecting nature through full and effective implementation of current European legislation. We want to work together, we have demonstrated we can do so, and we believe that we can provide an example for other industrial sectors.
The energy transition towards a zero carbon economy and the progressive integration of increasing shares of renewable energy sources can only be achieved if substantive and timely changes and additions to the existing grid are undertaken. The European Grid Declaration states that a sound, stable framework for environmental protection is an essential component of publicly acceptable and rapid development of grid infrastructure.
RGI urges the environmental protection measures provided by the existing Habitats and Birds Directives not to be diminished, but rather to secure the harmonized implementation of these directives at national level and to streamline the procedures to properly develop the electricity grids throughout Europe. Sound and clear legislation for nature and climate protection is essential for timely deployment, access to capital markets and for public support. Any change that creates uncertainty and delays is likely to prove counter-productive for Europe’s energy transition and the related grid development.
RGI welcomes the establishment of a Project Team for a Resilient Energy Union and a Forward-Looking Climate Change Policy, to be led by the designated Vice-President for the Energy Union and calls for giving her a strong mandate to deliver on developing the grids necessary for the energy transition, on tackling climate change and on protecting nature.
Executive Director of the Renewables Grid Initiative