Energy Serbia

Serbian turbine deal prompts protectionist EU legislation

| 2024-03-31 2 min read

Serbian turbine deal prompts protectionist EU legislation

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The awarding of a turbine tender to China’s Envision Energy by EU applicant Serbia looks to have set the bloc on a new course.

The deal has prompted EU plans to ban foreign wind turbines over cybersecurity issues, with protectionist measures to protect European manufacturers against Chinese rivals. 

The European Commission (EC) European Wind Power Package includes the allowance of the exclusion of foreign firms based on as yet undefined cybersecurity criteria.

As wind turbines can typically be managed remotely, they can be controlled by third parties. Terabytes of sensitive data could theoretically be collected daily and sent to third countries via satellite or even turned off.

The rules will likely ensure that secure equipment is being installed in Europe, a Spanish wind energy association AEE official told a conference in Bilbao, north Spain, Euractiv reported.

However, others in the industry are less convinced of the risks, and say the data is not open to abuse without control of the whole network of turbines, the Brussel-based website added.

The EC will reportedly present an act with more details on cybersecurity requirements later this year. 

At the time of the announcement of the European Wind Power Package, Maros Sefcovic, Executive Vice-President for European Green Deal “We need to make sure all sectors are able to operate in a conducive environment to effectively contribute to reaching our ambitious climate and energy goals. This package will help the European wind sector to grow at home and compete globally, thus reducing dependencies on external suppliers and creating green jobs for workers.”

For his part, Kadri Simson, Commissioner for Energy said: “The EU is determined to lead the energy transition, and to seize the opportunity to create economic growth and green jobs. The wind sector is key for the achievement of our clean energy and climate goals, but we need to make sure it can do business in a fair and supportive environment.

“We are committed to work together with Member States and the industry to turn our legislative targets into reality on the ground. The actions we set out today will make sure that the wind sector remains a strong European power play,” Simson added.

In a related development, the Net Zero Industry Act will be adopted by MEPs in late April, and will include optional cybersecurity requirements on renewable-energy public procurements.