EuropeOn welcomes the “Next Generation EU” Recovery Plan and highlights the potential of direct electrification for a green, digital and resilient Europe

On the 27th of May, all of EU stakeholders followed carefully the presentation of the European Commission’s Recovery Plan proposal and its dedicated instrument titled “Next Generation EU” – EuropeOn was no exception.

The European Electrical Contractors’ Association welcomes the EU’s Recovery Plan and its clear emphasis on achieving the Green Deal objectives while acknowledging the tremendous job potential of the energy transition.

In particular, President von der Leyen insisted on investing in “key infrastructure from 5G to housing renovation”, two fields in which electrical contractors play a crucial role and will shortly communicate their hands-on recommendations.

Interestingly, President von der Leyen also underlined that “Next Generation EU” will “make sure that people get the skills and the training and the education they need to adapt to this rapidly changing world“, which echoes EuropeOn’s Skills4Climate campaign.

When reading through the Recovery Plan Strategy, we can only have a first hint at what the Commission intends to do, in a limited amount of words. Its vision will be developed in upcoming Strategies on Renovation, Mobility, Sector Integration, and so on.

However, we are convinced that direct electrification should be given a greater role as it is a key driver for decarbonisation, digitalisation and energy efficiency, all the while fostering security of supply and resilience of our economy. Alongside energy benefits, focusing on direct electrification comes with high employment benefits, with numerous, green, local and skilled jobs.

In this regard, EuropeOn calls on the Commission and all European policymakers to ensure that the Renovation Wave, as announced in the Recovery Plan and the Green Deal, will take into account the necessity to modernise and strengthen electrical systems in European buildings. Deep renovations offer a rare opportunity to provide for electrical systems in buildings that can accommodate the latest climate-mitigating technologies such as solar PV, electric vehicle charging or electric heat-pumps.

EuropeOn emphasises that direct electrification should be a central feature of the upcoming Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy, in view of future-proofing mobility for the next generation of EU citizens. Indeed, direct electrification of transport offers the most energy efficient solutions to decarbonise the majority of transport-related emissions sources.

The first concrete step will be the presentation of the Commission’s Strategy on Smart Sector integration, at the end of June. We have high hopes following the Commissioner for Energy’s recent words: “Beginning with the launch of our strategy for Energy System Integration in June (…) we can reach greater decarbonisation and more cost-effectiveness for our citizens if our system operates as one continuous and intuitive system across all energy carriers and infrastructures. If we create a system that is more circular. If we push for even more direct electrification of end-use sectors. (…)And if we promote a more decentralised and digitalised energy network.”

Julie Beaufils, EuropeOn Secretary General, commented just after the Recovery Plan was released : “We have been early supporters of the Call for mobilisation for a Green Recovery, as we see great potential in the recovery plan to accelerate the energy transition, foster direct electrification and promote sustainable growth in our sector, already comprising over 1.8 million workers. We see this Recovery Plan as a first crucial step in the dialogue with all stakeholders and we are ready to share ideas and restart the European economy on a green and competitive basis.