Eurelectric welcomes the Commission’s proposal for a Nature Restoration Regulation (NRR).
The European electricity sector has undertaken intensive efforts to develop synergies between nature restoration and the deployment of renewable energy sources while strengthening energy independence. In this context, we encourage further initiatives addressing the interlinked challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss.
Synergies between nature restoration and renewable electricity generation must be activated
Best practice examples included in our Power Plant Project demonstrate how synergies between nature restoration measures and renewable electricity generation can be achieved. For this purpose, Eurelectric urges that the development of National Restoration Plans (NRPs) shall be consistent with the designated “renewables go-to areas” introduced by the REPowerEU Communication.
Clear definitions in accordance with existing legislation are essential
Definitions and rules in accordance with existing legislation would streamline the implementation of the regulation. Eurelectric supports the focus on restoration efforts regarding the most at-risk ecosystems in the NRR while continuing to support the exceptions in the Water Framework Directive (WFD) for artificial or heavily modified water bodies in Article paragraphs 4.3 and 4.5. Subsequently, for an effective regulatory structure and implementation, the definitions of “ecosystems in good status” and “baseline” must be clearly specified.
Less than 3% of the barriers in European rivers are used for hydropower
Hydropower plant operators have made great strides to comply with the existing European environmental regulation, including the WFD and the Habitats Directive.
Practical implementation requires sufficient staff at national authorities
Eurelectric strongly encourages the participation of stakeholders in the drafting process of NRPs to ensure a successful implementation of the NRR while providing guidance for investment decisions in renewable energy sources, including in “renewables go-to areas”. Additionally, specific EU-wide governance rules and indicators addressing monitoring, assessment, planning, reporting, and enforcement may help competent authorities to consider biodiversity, climate, and habitability issues jointly while concentrating restoration measures on habitats in which actions would be most efficient.