EU energy trade bodies urge policymakers to boost small-scale renewable installations

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Trade associations representing key players in Europe’s energy transition have urged policymakers to take a step-wise approach towards the market integration of small-scale renewable and high efficiency cogeneration installations.

Whilst the European institutions are negotiating the recast of the Electricity Market Design Regulation, the signatories of the declaration have recently launched the “Small Is Beautiful” campaign. The campaign’s main aim is to highlight the benefits of small-scale, clean and locally-owned installations to move progressively towards a decentralised energy system.

Trade associations that have signed the declaration, include the European Biomass Association (AEBIOM), the European Renewable Energies Federation (EREF), the European Association for the Promotion of Cogeneration (COGEN), the European Biogas Association (EBA), Solar Power Europe, Wind Europe, and many others.

James Watson, CEO of SolarPower Europe, said: “Small installations empower territories, small businesses, and consumers. When it comes to solar, they are also the biggest job providers. We must reflect on the energy transition we want to see emerging in Europe.”

However, according to the trade associations, these benefits are being threatened by the European Parliament’s current proposal requiring all power generators to be “balancing responsible” and the blanket removal of priority dispatch.

Small-scale renewable and high efficiency cogeneration installations are generally run by private consumers, households, communities, farmers, cooperatives or small and medium-sized enterprises and benefit the local economy.

However, European power markets are mostly not yet “fit” for small installations, according to trade associations. Removing the balancing responsibility exemptions and priority dispatch will result in disproportionate costs and technical and administrative burdens, the trade associations.

“Keeping the priority dispatch and access regimes for small installations as proposed by the European Commission is fundamental for empowering energy consumers and boosting investments in local sustainable and efficient energy solutions,” said Hans Korteweg, managing director of COGEN Europe.

Rémi Gruet, CEO of Ocean Energy Europe, added: “To accelerate the energy transition, investor risk needs to be reduced. Exemptions to balancing responsibility and maintaining priority dispatch go a long way in achieving this. All the more so for demonstration projects for innovative technologies: the lower the risk, the faster they can be taken to market.”

Rather than encouraging the participation of consumers or SMEs in the energy transition, the current proposals on the table would act as a disincentive.

Signatories of the declaration urge policymakers to maintain priority dispatch and the exemption of balancing responsibilities for small scale renewable and highly efficient cogeneration installations. According to the trade associations, a balanced approach is key to enable the advent of an increasingly distributed energy system, empowering energy consumers and contributing to the economic and social dynamism of local communities and small businesses.