Reflecting SolarPower Europe’s call for an emergency renewables booster, today’s proposal would last one year when it comes into force, effectively ‘bridging the gap’ before the updated EU Renewable Energy Directive finalises its legislative process.
The proposal puts forward a maximum deadline of one month for the permitting process for solar PV projects when they are not installed on natural ground, like buildings, carports, land around transport infrastructure, and brownfield sites.
Naomi Chevillard, Head of Regulatory Affairs at SolarPower Europe said; “Solar on our buildings offers direct protection and price relief to Europeans, while delivering on the continent’s climate commitments. But even on rooftops, it can take too long to get a construction permit or grid connection. This proposal will accelerate citizens’ immediate access to clean, more affordable, energy.”
“For maximum effectiveness of this proposal, it will be crucial to remove bottlenecks to investments in building solar-plus-heat pump solutions, and in particular allow third-party investor models.”
The proposal also limits permitting for the repowering of existing solar utility scale projects to 6 months – where previous proposals had set a 1 year deadline.
Chevillard continues; “This proposal will help accelerate project permitting and deployment at utility-scale on brownfield sites, where there is limited environmental impact on already degraded land. This is a critical step in an emergency situation. It will take us from project design to power generation faster, but it will not exempt all projects from conducting appropriate environmental impact assessments, and correspondingly taking compensation or mitigation measures, or addressing legal challenges.”
The proposed regulation, which will now be discussed by representatives from EU Member States, before being officially adopted at an Energy Council meeting of EU ministers on 24th November.
Chevillard continues; “This proposal is a key opportunity to enshrine the principle of renewable ‘priority areas’ where the impacts of projects are lower. When they meet at the end of this month, EU energy ministers should seize this crucial chance to align allocated land to their own national climate and energy security targets. Time is of the essence – we need to set out these priority areas within the next six months.”
The proposal comes under Article 122 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union – which allows for a faster legislative process. The EU has previously used this approach to put forward recent electricity market interventions and address gas supply challenges.