The European Commission on Wednesday (9 November) tabled temporary emergency rules to accelerate the deployment of renewable energies like wind and solar, saying the ongoing energy crisis fuelled by Russia’s war in Ukraine calls for exceptional measures.
Under the proposal, renewable energy projects “would be presumed to be of overriding public interest,” the Commission explained in a statement, saying this will allow a “simplified assessment” to speed up procedures.
The proposal also “clarifies the scope” of nature protection rules under the EU’s Birds and Habitats directives “in order to eliminate bottlenecks in the permit-granting process” for renewable energy projects.
Solar rooftop projects, for instance, and small solar installations below 50 kW of capacity will be exempt from a dedicated environmental impact assessment. And appraisals for replacing ageing wind turbines with new, often larger, units will have to be concluded within six months.
The new temporary emergency regulation will apply for one year until the EU’s revised renewable energy directive is adopted and comes into force.
The Commission’s ‘REPowerEU’ plan presented in May already included measures to address the lengthy and complex administrative procedures that slow down the pace of renewable energy projects.
“However, the situation in the energy markets has worsened since then, prompting the need for urgent measures,” the Commission argued, saying this justifies an emergency intervention under Article 122 of the EU treaty.