Page 13 - European Energy Innovation magazine - autumn 2022 edition
P. 13

Autumn 2022 European Energy Innovation
                                                                                       SOLAR EPBD      13

   Integrating solar energy into the   Pakistan, where one-third of the   Currently, 72% of renovations are self-  Rooftop solar PV in a sense is a low

            country is currently completely   funded, yet only 18% consumers are   hanging fruit if we want to see a swift
   Europe's build environment  submerged due to historic fl ooding.   taking loans to renovate their homes,   and cost effective ramp up of green
                                                                              power capacity. Approximately half
                                             as they are too expensive. This is
            These compounding factors will
            make the next few years diffi cult,
                                             of navigating the subsidy schemes
            to put it mildly, but it must spore   compounded by the complexity   of the energy consumed in Europe is
                                                                              used for heating and cooling, most
 By Sean Kelly, MEP (pictured)  governments to take concrete action.  and seeking technical expertise.   of this is based on fossil fuels. Solar
                                             Those barriers are even bigger for   heating & cooling (SHC) technologies
            To reduce dependency on fossil fuels,   deep renovation projects. The EPBD   can displace the need to use natural
            particularly gas, it is clear that further   should seek to establish fi rmer links   gas, protecting consumers from
            action is needed to reduce buildings’   between the fi nancial sector and the   fl uctuations energy prices.
            energy consumption. A massive    renovation sector.
            scale-up in renewable energy in                                   By 2030, the Commission has said
            power generation, industry, buildings   The energy crisis has highlighted the   that solar energy could provide a
            and transport will accelerate our   need to utilise available resources,   quarter of the EU’s electricity, which
            phasing out of Russian fossil fuels. It   from a buildings perspective, solar   is more than is currently generated in
            will also, over time, lower electricity   becomes an ever more attractive   gas-fi red power stations. The energy
            prices and reduce fossil fuel imports.   investment. The use of energy saving   system must undergo a fundamental
                                             and generation technologies will be   change, the envisaged mass
            Buildings are responsible for 36% of   pivotal for buildings. These are cost   installations of solar generation will
            greenhouse gas emissions and 40%   effective solutions with a high yield   create millions of “prosumers”, who
            of the energy consumption in the EU.   on return of investment, allowing   both produce and consume energy.
            It is clear they need to be suffi ciently   use to utilise much cleaner primary   This is my view will aid the speed
            addressed if we are to reach our   energy consumption.            of the energy transition as citizens
            climate targets. There is no question                             become more directly involved.
            of that.                         The ‘Solar Rooftop Initiative’, a core
                                             element of the REPowerEU plan    Millions of homes and buildings
            As the main EU-level legal instrument   unveiled, includes a proposal to   across the EU have potential not
            for decarbonising Member         include in the EPBD to make rooftop   realised, but we also ensure we have
            States’ building stock, the Energy   solar photovoltaic (PV) panels   the skilled workers on hand to install
            Performance of Buildings Directive   mandatory on new commercial and   the technologies.
            will soon take centre stage.     public buildings, as well as new
                                             residential buildings by 2029.   For this, I believe we need to see a
            The slowing economy and increases                                 coordinated and clear effort by the
            in cost of living will have signifi cant   I represent that Parliaments largest   Commission and Member States to
            implications for consumer        Group, the European Peoples Party   address the issue of skills. Member
             purchasing power and personal   (EPP), in the negotiations of the EPBD.   States must invest in capacity
            savings. Therefore, we must be   In my amendments to this legislation,   building, technical assistance and on
            aware that imposing obligations   I included a new article to address   upskilling and reskilling policies to
            without providing suffi cient means   the rooftop initiative. Of course, solar   realise the twin transition of a green
            to achieve standards has the     generation capacity differs across   and digital transition.
            potential to increase inequality.   the union and Member States should
            Those who can afford renovations will   have suffi cient fl exibility to operate   Over the next few years and decades,
            be insulated by rising energy costs,   support schemes. Nonetheless, the   we will have massive challenges ahead,
            while those who cannot will face   technology has advanced to the point   some of which we may not even fully
            rising costs. This point cannot   where it is also a viable solution for   appreciate yet. However, the role of
            be emphasised enough.            northern Europe as well as sunnier   solar technology will only increase in
                                             south.                           meeting these challenges. ●
            The EPBD will be a very important
            piece of legislation. Finding a balance
            between the need to revamp the built
            environment and not impose undue    Seán Kelly MEP has been an MEP for Ireland South since 2009 and is the
            fi nancial burden on households and   leader of the Fine Gael delegation in the European Parliament. A member of
            business will be extremely diffi cult,   the European Parliament’s Industry, Research and Energy Committee, Kelly
            but necessary.                      has worked extensively on renewable energy and energy effi ciency policy.

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