May 20, 2020 / 5:58 PM / 16 days ago

EU 'green' recovery to target buildings, clean power, hydrogen –draft

BRUSSELS, May 20 (Reuters) - European Union plans for an environmentally-friendly economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic will target building renovation, renewable energy and clean hydrogen fuel, according to a draft document seen by Reuters.

The draft, due to be published on May 27, lays out how the European Commission plans to use low-carbon investments to battle the bloc’s virus-induced economic downturn.

The Commission declined to comment on the draft document, which is subject to change before publication. It must also be approved by EU governments and the European Parliament.

A draft of the climate measures in the recovery plan - which will be funded by the bloc’s long-term budget and a fresh EU recovery fund - includes plans to transform Europe’s building stock to curb energy use, cut consumers’ bills and quickly create jobs in construction.

The Commission will set aside 91 billion euros each year in grants and loan guarantees for renovations like rooftop solar panels, insulation and renewable heating systems, it said.

Under the Commission proposal, the EU will tender 15GW of renewable energy capacity in the next two years, with expected investments of 25 billion euros.

A 10 billion euro fund, administered by the European Investment Bank, will also offer loans to projects for renewable energy and clean hydrogen - a zero-carbon fuel produced using renewable power.

Green hydrogen is seen as crucial to deliver the Commission’s target to decarbonise the EU economy by 2050, by replacing fossil fuels in polluting industrial processes.

The Commission plans to expand clean transport, which could help avoid a sustained spike in pollution as Europe’s lockdowns ease, if concerns about the coronavirus lead people to choose private cars over public transport.

The EU will aim to install 2 million electric and hydrogen vehicle charging stations by 2025, alongside a 20 billion euro scheme of grants and guarantees to boost sales of “clean” vehicles over the next two years, the Commission said. (Reporting by Kate Abnett;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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