January 27, 2023


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The EU will bypass protests to develop more wind and solar power

The EU will bypass protests to develop more wind and solar power

This spring, the European Commission introduced a package, RepowerEU, with changes to three directives, including the Renewable Energy Directive. This is now being dealt with in the so-called tripartite, in which legal texts must be agreed upon by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers (member states).

At RepowerEU, several far-reaching changes to the licensing process have been proposed that should make it easier to reach a new 45 percent renewable target.

But this is not enough.

On November 9, the Commission presented a crisis package that will accelerate the development of renewable energy sources. This is handled in accordance with Article 122 of the Treaty on European Union and must be approved by Member States only. Unlike the RepowerEU, this crisis package is not relevant to the European Economic Area, because the EEA Agreement does not cover this type of crisis measure.

Agree on crisis measures

At a meeting of EU energy ministers on Thursday, they agreed in principle on a renewable energy package for the crisis and measures for joint gas purchases. But due to disagreements over the mechanism of gas prices, the two crisis procedures will not be formally adopted until the next meeting of energy ministers at the earliest, which is likely to be on December 13th. The new rules will take effect immediately.

It is those countries that want a lower cap on the price of gas that are holding back decisions on quickly addressing some renewable investments.

Silence means yes

These new rules apply to wind, solar and heat pump installations.
Specifically, EU countries have now specified that solar panels on roofs and along roads, railways, parking lots or other artificial installations need not be investigated for their consequences for nature. This also applies to smaller solar power systems.

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The limit applies to installations of less than 50 kW. Here is that if the authorities do not reject an actual project, the silence of the authorities should be seen as a yes. The authorities have one month to stop a registered project.

Yes to expansion

In addition, it will be much easier to obtain permission to upgrade already existing facilities. Here, the processing of the application should take a maximum of six months. The developer should only investigate the environmental and natural impact of changes to the facility. This means, for example, increasing capacity by improving an existing wind farm.

European Union countries agree to introduce urgent rules facilitating the upgrading of renewable energy facilities. Here, a facility outside of Narbonne in France. Photo: Alf-Ol Ask
This emergency measure also contains simplified procedures for connecting utilities to the power grid.
It is the acute crisis with the rise in prices caused by the loss of Russian gas, which prompted the European Commission on November 9 to put forward this renewable energy package for the crisis. It is approved by department

122 of the Treaty on European Union. Thus, it should be adopted by Member States only and will be temporary. Initially for one year, but it will probably be replaced by the Repower EU rules for faster license processing.

Easier to achieve goals

The European Commission has not made any calculations about how much additional renewable energy they expect to get this way or how much gas is saved. He notes that the measures will make it easier to reach the renewable energy target and the commitment to provide 15 percent of gas consumption in the European Union. The committee stresses that increasing investment in solar energy in particular is a cheap and effective way to reduce gas consumption and energy costs for individuals and companies.

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The article was first published on energy and climate.


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