On April 8, 2015, the Ministry of Environment and Urban Affairs
issued a circular clarifying the circumstances under which an EIA
is required under its December 2014 regulation (the
"EIA Regulation") for unlicensed solar
farms (solar farms with an installed capacity of less than 1 MW)
and mining project capacity increases.
Under the EIA Regulation, solar power plants with an installed
capacity of less than 1 MW are exempt from preparing an EIA. To
prevent abuse of the regulation, the circular clarifies that, if
the same investor owns multiple unlicensed solar power plants on
the same or adjacent (bitişik nizam) parcels of land,
the total installed capacity must be considered. If the total
installed capacity of the plants is 10 MW or less, the plants are
collectively subject to an EIA evaluation; if the total installed
capacity exceeds 10 MW, an EIA approval is required.
The circular also clarifies capacity increases in the mining
industry, providing that (i) an increase in production,
(ii) an increase in explosive use, or (iii) an expansion of an
exploration license area, is a capacity increase subject to EIA
Impact of the changes
Multiple unlicensed solar power plants in the same area are now
regarded as a single project for EIA purposes. This is significant
as the construction of multiple unlicensed power plants on adjacent
parcels is increasing. The change also highlights the contrasting
approaches of the Ministry of Environment and the Energy Market
Regulatory Authority (EMRA), which treats adjacent projects
Previously, the EIA requirements for capacity increases were
applied inconsistently. In some cases, for example, the local
administration of the Ministry of Environment approved applications
that only included the environmental impact of the capacity
increase (without considering the entire project). These
discrepancies have been eliminated.
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guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
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