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Green lobbies welcome EU shift from lowest cost auctions

(Montel) Wind and solar lobbies have welcomed a draft EU deal requiring national governments to consider non-price criteria in their auctions for renewables capacity.

These provisions in the draft EU Net-Zero Industry Act (NZIA) agreed informally late on Tuesday would help governments select projects “that create the most value” for European countries, said WindEurope chief policy officer Pierre Tardieu.

They would also directly help EU wind turbine makers, which are facing more competition from cheaper producers in other regions, notably China. At stake is who builds the nearly 300 GW of wind the EU needs to help meet its 2030 renewables target.

Governments will be able to use non-price criteria including sustainability, resilience, cybersecurity, responsible business conduct and ability to deliver projects.

They will have to apply them to either at least 30% of their total national volumes auctioned each year, or to a maximum of 6 GW/year.

This is “a positive, measured approach, which will help solar manufacturers finance project pipelines, knowing there is reliable demand for their product”, said SolarPower Europe’s policy director Dries Acke.

He also welcomed the plan for the European Commission to monitor how the scheme works and propose revisions if needed.

Technology-specific approach
Acke reiterated the solar sector’s joint call with the wind sector that governments take a technology-specific approach to such criteria. This should recognise the “very different” starting points in the two sectors’ supply chains.

WindEurope had pushed for non-price pre-qualification criteria to apply immediately to all wind auctions.

SolarPower Europe had wanted non-price criteria to apply to around 5 GW of EU auctioned solar volumes in 2025, rising to 30 GW in 2030.

Solar manufacturers also continued to need emergency support as they had just “weeks left of survival”, said Acke.