Renewable energy, the EU set new rules to accelerate permits and installations

Pannelli fotovoltaici

The EU is moving towards the adoption of a new law on renewable energy that will have three effects:

  • Accelerate the authorisation procedure for renewable energy plants
  • Promoting the EU domestic production during the energy crisis
  • Reducing dependence on fossil fuels imported from Russia

The text of the new rules was adopted yesterday by the European Parliament and now negotiations with the various EU governments will have to start. With the passage in the Parliament the original bill, arrived from the European Commission, has endured of the modifications: the deputies have reduced the maximum duration of the authorisation procedure for the new systems situated in "zones of acceleration for the renewable energies" from the 12 months proposed by the Commission to nine months. These areas should be outlined by each EU country based on its ability to install renewable energy faster. If the competent authority does not respond within the deadline, the permit would be approved according to the principle of "positive silence".

Outside these areas, the authorisation procedure should not exceed 18 months, and no longer two years as initially proposed. As for the restocking of existing plants, the maximum duration will be six months.

In establishing the rules for the acceleration zones for renewable energy, EU countries must avoid, or significantly contain, a negative environmental impact.

Natura 2000 sites, parks, nature reserves and identified migratory routes of birds and marine mammals shall be excluded, with the exception of artificial areas such as roofs, parking areas or transport infrastructure. MEPs also added provisions to ensure public involvement before choosing an area for the installation of a plant and to designate renewable areas.

Member States will be obliged to ensure that authorisations to install solar installations on buildings are issued within one month, while for installations with less than 50 kW, a simple notification will suffice. The installation of solar installations will be exempt from the obligation to carry out an environmental impact assessment. In addition, the process of issuing a permit for the installation of heat pumps should not last more than a month.

In order to introduce more renewable energy into the grid without delay, MEPs also incorporated elements of a recent Commission proposal, presented under the so-called "emergency procedure" so that most of the provisions can enter into force as early as 2023.

The text of the legislation will now be the subject of negotiations with the Council to reach an agreement at first reading.