More than 50% of Europe’s energy needs were met by renewables on 24 May 2020. The milestone was hit as the cost of wind and solar energy tumbles compared to energy from carbon-intensive sources such as coal-fired power plants. Some analysts argue that, as we emerge from the COVID-19 lockdown, now is renewable energy’s chance to shine, particularly if support for clean energy is integrated into government’s economic recovery plans.
The EU wants to emerge from the crisis in a sustainable fashion. As part of the EU’s “green recovery plan”, almost 100 billion euros each year in grants and loan guarantees will be set aside for household renovations, including rooftop solar panels. Could this help turn European energy “consumers” into “prosumers”?
What do our readers think? We had a comment come in from HJo, who said: “On the supply side, electricity will be one day for free, there [are] so many ways [of] generating it… You just need the fantasy [of] us all living in houses full of solar panels. And the technology develops fast”. Is he right? Will all houses one day have solar panels?
To get a response, we put HJo’s comment to Paula Pinho from the European Commission, where she is Acting Director at Directorate A Energy Policy. What would she say?
NOTE: These interviews were carried out before the COVID-19 pandemic.
For another perspective, we also spoke to Erkki Maillard, Senior Vice-President for European and International Affairs at the Électricité de France (EDF) Group, a French electric utility company and one of the largest producers of electricity in the world. How would he respond to HJo’s comment?
Should all houses have solar panels? Could the EU and national governments offer grants and loan guarantees to install rooftop solar panelling across Europe? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!