European Commission aims to accelerate renewable permits


From pv magazine Germany

As part of the REPower EU package launched in May, the European Commission has proposed a large bundle of measures intended to lower dependence on Russian energy imports, reduce CO2 emissions, and accelerate the expansion of renewables. This includes, among other things, plans to shorten the permitting procedures for PV and wind energy installations.

However, it will still take a while before the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED IV), which is part of the REPowerEU package, is passed and implemented into national law across the member states. Therefore, the commission has drawn up a proposal to simplify the approval process and bridge this period, although the draft has yet to be officially published. It is based on proposals already included in the REPowerEU package. The measures will initially apply for one year, but could be extended if necessary, according to documents seen by pv magazine.

Specifically, the commission has said that the member states should define renewable projects as being of overriding public interest. These projects could then immediately benefit from simplified permits, according to EU environmental legislation.

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The EU Commission is pushing for permits to be granted for PV installations linked to structures created for purposes other than electricity generation, with grid-connection permits to be issued within a maximum of one month. Environmental impact assessments would not be conducted for such projects, but this would explicitly not apply to floating PV systems.

Systems with outputs of less than 50 kW usually do not have major negative environmental impacts and do not require any capacity expansion at the point of grid connection, so the commission wants to further streamline approval procedures for them. It reinforced this point by noting that self-consumption from small systems helps operators to keep their electricity costs within limits. In concrete terms, a plant should automatically be considered approved if the responsible authorities do not respond to the application within a period of a month.

When repowering solar parks, the nature conservation and compensation requirements should not be increased unless the new system takes up more space, according to the commission. And last but not least, all decisions from the approval processes should be publicly accessible, the commission said.

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