On 10 December 2020, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs): Tomas Tobé, Sara Skyttedal, Jessica Polfjärd, Jörgen Warborn , David Lega and Arba Kokalari of the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) posed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission:
“Sweden has one of the world’s most sustainable energy mixes, with most energy coming from hydroelectric and nuclear power. In the transition to a fossil-free society, we are seeing an increase in the demand for non-carbon electricity, which means that we need to keep our current energy sources and increase their quantity. Consequently, the draft delegated act that the Commission presented on 20 November 2020, in which the approach is no longer technology-neutral and hydroelectric power faces stricter requirements than, for example, solar and wind power, would have severe consequences for the Swedish power supply.
The hydroelectric power requirements also go further than they do in the current EU legislation. Therefore, the Commission is acting in a manner that is contrary to the existing legislation.
The results from this delegated act could be catastrophic if the requirements for hydroelectric power are adopted, with 40 % of our energy mix deemed unsustainable, and few hydroelectric power stations would be able to continue their operations owing to the stricter requirements. It will also be more challenging for Sweden and the EU to reach their highly ambitious goals.
Why has the Commission departed from the principle of technology neutrality? Why is the Commission going further than the current Union legislation when it comes to hydroelectric power?”
On 1 February 2021, Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson responded on behalf of the European Commission stating: “The Commission recognises Sweden’s high share of renewables and its ambition in promoting this type of energy.
The Taxonomy Regulation sets out a number of requirements for the criteria defining ‘substantial contribution’ and ‘do no significant harm’ to the six environmental objectives defined in the regulation, associated with economic activities. Coherence with EC law, a high level of environmental ambition, avoiding market distortion and ease of use are among the requirements that the criteria will have to fulfil.
In the preparation of the draft delegated regulation establishing the technical screening criteria for climate change mitigation and adaptation, the Commission has used the Technical Experts Group’s recommendations as important input. While the principle of technology neutrality has played a key role in this context, various activities have been considered based on their potential to make a substantial contribution to climate change mitigation and adaptation as well as their potential impact on other environmental objectives.
In line with its Better Regulation policy, the Commission published the draft delegated act for a period of four weeks to collect public feedback on it. The consultation period ended on 18 December 2020. All stakeholders and Member States had the opportunity to express their views and to request clarifications, including via the Member States Expert Group on Sustainable Finance. Two dedicated meetings were held with Member States for this purpose. Currently, the Commission is carefully considering and evaluating the feedback received . Based on this analysis, the decision will be taken as regards the final text of the delegated act to be adopted by the Commission.”
Photo Credit : https://pixabay.com/vectors/water-hydroelectric-energy-hydro-4391341/