RGI welcomes the European Commission's acknowledgement of the need for investments and reforms in the Member States, in order to deliver the energy transition, while maintaining energy security and security of supply. However, the proposal to amend the Recovery and Resilience Facility in the context of the REPowerEU, and the positions of the European Parliament and Council raise concerns about the effectiveness of the proposed measures. We regret to notice that these have the potential to result in further lock-ins and increased GHG emissions, diverting scarce and limited funds from where they are truly needed and impactful.
With this in mind, RGI therefore calls for the following:
The European Union can ensure energy security and security of supply if funds for variable renewables and electricity grids are prioritised, in line with the 'Do No Significant Harm' (DNSH) principle.
We acknowledge that significant public and private investments are needed to bridge the investment gap for the energy transition. However, for the EU to address the current energy crisis without undermining its climate and energy ambition and commitments, the EU Green Deal should remain in focus. RGI is concerned about the continuous support and subsidisation of fossil fuels and low-carbon technologies, including oil, fossil gas and LNG, as envisaged in the revision of the Recovery and Resilience Facility. Instead, we urge the co-legislators to ensure that supported projects are assessed through the lens of the DNSH principle and sustainability criteria, covering socio-economic and environmental aspects. In line with this, reforms and investments to scale up the deployment of renewables, especially wind and solar, alongside the necessary electricity grid infrastructure, energy efficiency and saving measures are essential. Additionally, to accelerate the deployment of the necessary energy transition infrastructure, the Member States should consider allocating adequate funds and strengthening public authorities responsible for permitting processes. Only such a holistic approach has the potential to achieve energy independence.
Infrastructure needs should be assessed with an energy system perspective and in line with the 2030 climate and energy targets as well as the 2050 EU objective for climate neutrality.
Electricity grids are at the core of infrastructure and investment needs and should be clearly referenced and prioritised in the revised Regulation and the national recovery and resilience plans. The expansion of electricity transmission grids, including interconnectors, will enable the integration of higher shares of RES and of the internal EU energy market. It will diversify origins of supply, offer the necessary flexibility to the energy system and optimise resources. In turn, this would result in lower costs for the energy transition and society at large.
Public spending should focus on unlocking the benefits of direct electrification in the Member States.
We strongly believe that direct electrification, coupled with high shares of RES is the most sustainable, timely, cost- and energy- efficient way to decarbonise our society. However, we regret to see yet another tool, offering unconditional support to the unsustainable uptake of hydrogen, in very short time-frames while, at the same time, refraining from any reference to the need to prioritise direct electrification.
Robust and transparent public participation and consultation processes should be embedded in the design, implementation and monitoring of the recovery and resilience plans, including the REPowerEU chapters.
RGI sees the added value of Member States involving and consulting with a wide spectrum of stakeholders, including NGOs and civil society organisations, through all phases of the recovery and resilience plans, in line with the partnership principle. This would not only ensure the legitimacy of the plans, and increased quality and ambition, but would result in the effective distribution of funds based on local specificities and needs. Such a process should not be undermined by any agreement on fast-track submission of the REPowerEU chapters by the Member States, considering that the Recovery and Resilience Facility will run until 2026.
The full statement can be downloaded below.