June 2, 2020 — Industry Trends
Digital clarity can unlock Europe’s €750bn recovery
We were meant to be watching Euro 2020 this month. Instead, we are watching a €750bn Covid-19 recovery package start its journey through the European Union. For those of us in the renewable energy and digital industries, these policies will shape our businesses through the 2020s and beyond.
Chief Growth Officer, Greenbyte
This month, we were meant to watch Sweden march to victory in Euro 2020.
Instead we will watch a €750bn Covid-19 recovery package start its journey through the European Union. It may not have the same immediate thrills as football. But for those of us in the renewable energy and digital industries, this is likely to shape our businesses in the 2020s and beyond.
The numbers leaked around the official announcement speak for themselves: €25bn for 15GW of renewables tendering within two years, €10bn for green hydrogen, and €10bn to support national green plans. It’s great to see the EU put the wind and solar industries at the heart of this crisis response.
Renewables have been resilient so far. It is testament to the great work of those who manage Europe’s renewables fleet that wind and solar have proved capable of being the bedrock of the electricity grid. But they need support. The European Commission has warned the European wind and solar markets could shrink by up to 33% in 2020.
With this €750bn package, the EU wants to super-charge their growth. It is acting on huge demand in Europe for a ‘green recovery’, which Greenbyte fully endorses.
However, we still need clarity on what this means for the people operating projects.
The EU says it wants its Covid-19 response to be ‘digital’ as well as ‘green’. Yet from what we’ve seen so far, the strategy is vague about what it means for the grid.
Let’s look at its digital priorities. We understand why the EU is focused on the rollout of ultra-fast broadband, and support for cybersecurity and artificial intelligence. They grab headlines, and all would strengthen the networks that Greenbyte customers rely on every day. Ultra-fast broadband would particularly help remote O&M managers.
But it hasn’t yet answered key questions about the grid. More renewables on the grid means more intermittency for operators to deal with, yet we’ve seen little so far about energy storage or smart grids. This is key to long-term energy investment decisions.
Some proposals call for the EU to increase the flexibility of electricity grids so that they can cope with higher penetration of renewables, and accelerating the rollout of smart grid infrastructure. For Greenbyte customers, this is set to mean more energy storage in their portfolios and better forecasting to help with profitable O&M.
These are both areas where we are taking steps to support you.
For example, we are excited that we have started partnering with Pexapark in recent months. Through this partnership, we are giving the option of additional power price data via our Greenbyte Marketplace. To find out more about this tie-up, click here.
The issue for policymakers is to get beyond digital buzzwords. Most people accept that ‘green’ and ‘digital’ will both be important investment priorities in the 2020s. But investors need clear signals on the direction of policy so they can get ready. There’s a great focus on winning the war on Covid-19, but we need clarity on the peace too.
We’re enthusiastic though. We know our clients are resourceful, and you can read the latest of our customer case studies, France’s Terre et Lac, if you click here.
And we will support you. This month, my colleague Christos Kaidis has shared tips on how to cope if you lose communications with your site. You can read that here.
We know that you are passionate about delivering an electricity system based on renewables. You will do that both by delivering profitable projects today, and using signposts from government to make the smart investment decisions for tomorrow.
For those of you in Europe, let’s hope the EU gives you further clarity in the coming months.