New regulation on fast-track permitting of renewable energy installations on the way

On 9 November 2022, the European Commission proposed a new emergency regulation aimed at speeding up the granting of permits for renewable energy installations.

The proposed Regulation reflects the current energy situation in the EU, which is characterised by rapidly rising natural gas prices, gas supply disruptions, increased inflation and volatile electricity prices. The Commission's proposal aims to improve investment opportunities in renewable energy sources and is part of the response to the extraordinary energy situation.

Lengthy and complex administrative permitting procedures are currently a barrier to the deployment of renewable energy sources, which is why the European Commission is now proposing to streamline permitting procedures.

The proposal includes the following initiatives:

  • The construction and operation of renewable energy installations and their connection to the energy grid will in future be presumed to have an overriding public interest and to serve public health and safety. The initiative has particular relevance to EU environmental legislation and is proposed to apply to permitting processes commencing after the entry into force of the Regulation. 
  • Introduction of a one-month deadline for the permitting procedure for solar PV installations installed on buildings and installations that do not have the production of energy from solar PV installations as their primary purpose. In addition, these types of installations are proposed to be exempted from the environmental assessment rules. Solar PV installations with a capacity of less than 50 kW are proposed to be subject to a presumption rule, whereby the application can be considered as approved if no notification from the relevant public authority is received within one month.
  • For repowering projects, a deadline of maximum six months is proposed for the overall processing of the permit to upgrade the renewable energy installation to a higher capacity. A deadline of one month is proposed in cases where the capacity is increased by up to 15% unless exceptional circumstances apply.
  • The Regulation seeks to promote the penetration of heat pumps by introducing a deadline of maximum three months for the permitting of heat pumps.

The Regulation, if adopted in full, will be valid for one year from the date of entry into force. The European Commission may propose to extend the validity after launching an evaluation of the Regulation by 1 July 2023 at the latest.

The proposal will have to be examined by the European Parliament and the Council and the concrete date of entry into force is therefore still uncertain.

Read the proposed regulation

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