The election comes one week after European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in her “State of the Union” speech announced a new “Wind Power Package” and underlined that “the future of our clean tech industry has to be made in Europe”.
The EU’s ambition to curtail its dependence on imported fossil fuels and shift to a more sustainable energy system is clear, with a goal of harnessing 420 GW of wind energy by 2030, a significant leap from its current 200 GW capacity. However, the wind industry currently faces challenges that jeopardize these aspirations. Specifically, Chinese turbine manufacturers, with their cost-competitive offerings, looser standards and unconventional financing terms, have begun making inroads in Europe, raising concerns over the origin of Europe’s future wind energy infrastructure.
Blanco, who has held significant roles in the wind industry, remarked on his appointment, “Wind energy is Europe’s triumph. It promises employment for 450,000 Europeans by 2030. Yet, the EU’s wind equipment manufacturers face intense pressures.” Blanco stressed the urgency for the “Wind Power Package” to expedite permitting, refine auction structures for wind energy, and bolster EU’s manufacturing and supply chains. He warned that without such efforts, the EU risks compromising its energy security and economic resilience.
Parres, with over two decades of experience in integrating renewable energies into the grid, highlighted the critical role of electricity grids in Europe’s green transition. He emphasized the need for the EU to double its annual investments in electricity grids. Only by amplifying and streamlining Europe’s grids can the EU truly integrate renewable energy in line with its 2030 targets. The simplification of grid planning processes and clear rules on grid connections were underscored as vital steps in this direction.