The European Builders Confederation (EBC), which represents micro, small and medium-sized construction businesses, has joined the campaign with the aim of encouraging policymakers to build-in support for small-scale power in the Clean Energy Package.
The Package, due to be adopted this year, will establish Europe’s renewables and energy efficiency targets for 2030 as well as updating electricity market regulations.
According to the Small is Beautiful campaign, the European Parliament’s current proposal requiring all power generators to be “balancing responsible” and its proposed removal of priority dispatch threatens the viability of small-scale renewable and high efficiency cogeneration installations.
European power markets are mostly not yet ‘fit’ for small installations, the campaign said, adding that “removing the balancing responsibility exemptions and priority dispatch will result in disproportionate costs and technical and administrative burdens” for operators, which are generally private consumers, households, communities, farmers, cooperatives or SMEs.
Eugenio Quintieri, EBC secretary-general, said small-scale renewable installations “create sustainable jobs in the construction sector, which has a total direct workforce of 18 million people and contributes about 9 per cent to the EU GDP.
“Putting the brakes on the development of small renewable installations will endanger the EU’s ambition to become a global leader in renewable energy. Not only would this put a large amount of skilled, local and non-transferable jobs in our construction SMEs at risk, but would also threaten the engagement of EU citizens in cleaner energy.
“Energy transition cannot happen if we do not value the contribution of our small-scale renewable installers”.
James Watson, CEO of Small is Beautiful member SolarPower Europe, added: “It is vital that policymakers heed the sentiment of the European construction sector and support rules that will enable small scale renewables. Stifling small installations will harm the opportunities this segment offers to builders across Europe, likely costing jobs and economic growth.
“These are local and sustainable jobs that we need much more of, if we are to make the low-carbon economy a reality.”
The Small is Beautiful campaign is led by 15 trade associations including SolarPower Europe, AEBIOM, AIE, Cogen EUROPE, the European Biogas Association, EBC, EGEC Geothermal, Energy Cities, the European Heat Pump Association, the European Renewable Energies Federation, EUREC, Euroheat & Power, OceanEnergy Europe, REScoop.eu, the International Union of Property Owners, SolarHeat Europe and WindEurope.