The EU aims to mobilise €1 trillion in investments over the next 10 years to support the transition towards climate neutrality by 2050. Half of this amount will come from the EU budget, while Member States are expected to co-finance another €100 billion. The rest will come from private and public investments. The European Investment Bank, the largest multilateral provider of climate finance worldwide will play a major role here. It has already committed to increase its climate finance to 50% of all its lending. It has also laid out a new energy-lending policy to stop financing traditional fossil fuels and focus fully on energy efficiency, renewable energy and climate-friendly projects.
The Sustainable Europe Investment Plan builds on the success of the Juncker Plan (European Fund for Strategic Investment) and significantly expands on it. Wind got €1.7 billion under the Juncker Plan, leveraged a further €7 billion in private finance and delivered 3.6 GW of new wind farms. With the political focus on delivering climate neutrality, wind is now ready to significantly expand its contribution. Wind energy is already 14% of Europe’s electricity and the European Commission expects this share to grow to 50% by 2050. Wind energy will therefore be at the core of a climate-neutral energy system. The new fund will be key in unlocking finance in e.g. hybrid offshore projects and emerging technologies that will deliver on climate neutrality.
The Sustainable Europe Investment Plan also includes a €100 billion Just Transition Mechanism to help fossil-fuel intensive regions transition towards sustainable technologies. It will lean on 3 instruments: a Just Transition Fund; a guarantee scheme under the InvestEU program relying on private investments; and a public loan facility composed of EU budget and European Investment Bank loans for local and regional authorities.
The wind sector is already contributing to a just transition. In Romania, it’s opening a training centre to reskill coal miners into wind workers, helping local communities benefit from the new prospects wind energy offers. And in Poland, a similar project is being prepared in Silesia.
WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson said: “The Sustainable Europe Investment Plan is bigger and better than previous European investment initiatives. And this is excellent news for Europe, the climate and for wind energy. The Commission has set out a Plan that can deliver on the energy transition challenge with the masterful blending of financial sources it offers. Wind is already delivering on headline projects for the European Green Deal. And wind’s share in Europe’s power mix will grow – it’s 14% today and the Commission says it’ll be 50% in 2050. So our sector will be contributing even more intensely for example with re-skilling coal workers into wind jobs. We also look forward to an easy-to-use Just Transition Mechanism that unlocks investments into projects quickly where they’re most needed. This will be key to ensure a fair and jobs-rich transition for all Europeans.”