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Title: EU plans one-year renewable energy permits for faster green shift


itle: EU plans one-year renewable energy permits for faster green shift

May 09, 2022 08:41AM ET

The European Union executive wants to speed up the "green transition" and reduce dependence on Russian fuels by allowing certain renewable energy projects to be licensed within a year, the draft document says.

As part of this, the European Commission would propose rules that would require countries to designate "up to" land or sea areas suitable for renewable energy where such projects would have a low environmental impact, the draft legislation said.

This contradicts the EU's current two-year deadline for approving such projects, which could be extended by another year. Projects outside the "priority" zones would respect this deadline, the proposal says.

But renewable energy projects are often delayed because of red tape, opposition from local authorities or concerns about protecting endangered species, raising fears that the bloc will not be able to expand wind and solar power fast enough to meet climate change targets.

The permitting and construction of renewable energy projects will be categorized as "significant public interest" projects, which will make them easier to assess. EU citizens will continue to have the right to participate in decision-making on projects, the proposal says.

The target zones will avoid protected areas or bird migration routes and give priority to built-up areas such as rooftops, roads, railways, industrial areas and public land in close proximity to them.

Common areas will be subject to environmental assessment, but this will no longer be required for individual projects unless they would have a significant impact on the environment of another EU country, the proposal says.

For small projects of less than 150 kW in "general purpose" zones, the permitting procedure will be accelerated to six months, or nine months if there are safety or grid impact issues.

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