The European Commission has identified lengthy and complex administrative procedures as key obstacles hampering the speed and number of investments in renewables and related infrastructure. To combat this, the proposed instrument sets out temporary, proportionate and extraordinary measures.
Under the proposal, renewable energy plants would be presumed to be of overriding public interest. This would allow new permitting procedures to benefit with immediate effect from a simplified assessment for specific derogations foreseen in EU environmental legislation. Moreover, the proposal clarifies the scope of application of certain rules foreseen in the EU Birds and Habitats directives in order to eliminate bottlenecks in the permit-granting process for certain renewable energy projects.
The Commission proposes a maximum of one month for permitting processes for solar energy equipment and its co-located storage and grid connections when it is not installed on natural ground. It also proposes to exempt these installations from the need to carry out certain environmental assessments. A deadline of six months is proposed for the permit-granting processes applicable to the repowering of renewable energy projects. It specifies that the environmental assessments in respect of these should be limited to assessing the potential impacts resulting from the change or extension compared to the original project. Finally, it is proposed that a three month maximum deadline would be introduced for heat pumps.
Read the proposal in full here.
This article contains a general summary of developments and is not a complete or definitive statement of the law. Specific legal advice should be obtained where appropriate.