Helping biodiversity thrive via renewables-driven restoration: Eurelectric joins forces with The Nature Conservancy

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As Europe is confronting the twin energy and climate crises, speeding up the roll out of renewables has become more urgent than ever. Breaking the EU addiction on Russian fossil fuels imports has been indeed the Commission’s RePowerEU overarching rationale to call for higher and faster renewables rates. 

However, several obstacles between target setting and actual implementation are still preventing the necessary deployment such as lengthy permitting procedures as well as the overall mistaken belief that installing more renewables would completely put biodiversity at risk. 

What it is often ignored is that integrating renewable projects in non-protected sites can benefit nature by contributing to revegetate degraded ecosystem and protecting biodiversity. The key lies in designing integrated projects in areas suitable for nature preservation and ecological restoration through innovative climate-friendly resource-management practices. 

Green MEP Juta Paulus confirms

“I am opposed to the belief that there must be a trade-off between climate, environment and energy security. Renewable energy can help nature”

Activating synergies between nature restoration and renewable electricity generation can meet both the EU climate and biodiversity agendas while strengthening Europe’s energy independence from fossil fuels.  

With this goal in mind, on 15 November, Eurelectric formalised a policy cooperation with the global non-profit organisation The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to build confidence among EU institutions, Member states and other relevant stakeholders over these innovative win-win solutions. The ceremony took place at the COP side event: “Accelerating Renewable Energy Internationally” and gathered EU representatives, IRENA and other energy stakeholders.  

Joana Freitas - Vice Chair of the Generation and Environment Committee at Eurelectric affirms

“Our role it’s not to do what it is easy, our role it to do whatever is in our power to protect nature. PowerPlant is a new model for renewables deployment that could help us get there"

Our flagship report has shown through different experimental case studies how solar shading can help rewet peatlands, how wind turbines with coloured blades minimise the risk of bird collisions, and how hydro reservoirs can act as restocking sites for endangered fishes.  

Mainstreaming these practices is now essential to reach the EU 2030 targets while keeping in mind the EU biodiversity goals. This is what will drive Eurelectric-TNC’s three key actions in the future: 

  1. Inform and support EU policy makers to establish EU-wide guiding principles to better identify renewable siting best practice, harmonise approaches across the EU-27 and provide clear investment signals to industry.  
  1. Share sound analysis models, science, and data mapping to facilitate Member States spatial planning of go-to areas subject suitable for rapid renewable energy deployments.  
  1. Scope a wider cross-border cooperation and information sharing with the agricultural sector to further unlock synergies between nature, powers, and agriculture sectors. ensuring accelerated permitting for renewable deployment. We need