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The European Commission is set to table an Emergency Regulation to simplify and accelerate the permitting of renewables projects. The Regulation would enact key measures initially set out in REPowerEU. The measures would bring clarity on binding permitting deadlines, make it easier to repower wind farms, and ensure renewables are presumed to be of overriding public interest.
The proposal confirms the two-year deadline for permitting new renewable projects, and clarifies its scope by including the grid connection permit and approval of the Environmental Impact Assessment. It also confirms the one-year deadline for permitting repowered projects and speeds up the grid connection for those projects that do not require new grid asset or grid reinforcement.
The Emergency Regulation does not undermine EU environmental law. It states that renewable energy projects are to be presumed of overriding public interest to solve Europe’s energy crisis, as long as site location are rightfully selected, and mitigation measures are put in place. It also promotes a population-based approach to biodiversity protection that could mandate developers of renewable projects to implement mitigation measures beyond the location site to protect the whole endangered species population.
The measures will be valid for one year, but the Commission leaves open the possibility of extending their duration until the completion of the ongoing legislative negotiations on REPowerEU. The emergency procedure means they can be implemented by the end of the year in all EU Member States.
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