EU renewables industry to European Commission: getting permitting right is key to unlocking new investments

Today, renewable energy associations – WindEurope, Bioenergy Europe, EGEC, EREF, ESTELA, Ocean Energy Europe, ESTIF and SolarPower Europe – sent a letter to the European Commission urging concrete action to solve permitting bottlenecks for renewables.

The letter delivers a clear message from EU renewables industries: restarting Europe’s economy post-COVID-19, and delivering on the EU’s 2030 & 2050 climate & energy targets, will not be achievable without an appropriate and simplified framework for permitting.

In its letter to the Commission, the renewables sector outlines three key steps to help simplify and speed up permitting processes. It asks the Commission to:

  • Ensure Member States effectively transpose and enforce the permitting rules in the 2018 Renewable Energy Directive for new and repowered renewable energy projects;
  • Audit Member States on whether they have the human and administrative resources to process the permit applications needed for the renewable energy commitments made in the 2030 National Plans; and
  • Clarify with Member States that there are no barriers in EU law that forbid changes in the technology specifications in the timeframe between permit application and construction of a renewable energy project.

The Commission has been clear in their support for the expansion of renewables as a motor of the EU’s economic recovery and the European Green Deal. And the Commission recognises the need to solve the permitting bottlenecks that are blocking renewables’ build-out in many countries today. It had already demanded that all Member States substantiate the measures for simplified permitting as part of the country-specific recommendations to the draft 2030 National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs).

Yet almost all the final NECPs remain silent on the policies that will speed up permitting on the ground. Most Member States have not even planned for additional administrative or human resources to issue the permits needed to meet their 2030 renewable energy goals.

Taking further action now is a no-regret option to turn the Green Deal, and a renewables-powered economic recovery, into a concrete reality.

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