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European Commission reduces approval time for renewables to 9 months

European Commission reduces approval time for renewables to 9 months

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have amended a European Commission proposal on approval times for new renewables projects. Approvals will be shortened from 12 months to nine for projects in so-called “renewable acceleration areas.”

The European Parliament has approved a draft law to simplify renewable energy approvals for new projects or to adapt existing ones. The vote was 407 in favor and 34 against, with 181 abstentions.

MEPs said the maximum period for the approval of new installations will be shortened from 12 months to nine if projects are located in renewable acceleration areas. Outside of such areas, procedures should not take more than 18 months, according to the MEPs. They also said that permits should be granted within six months for capacity upgrades to existing plants. The provisions are expected to go into force in 2023.

When designating renewable acceleration zones, member states should try to avoid or reduce negative environmental impacts. Parks and nature reserves, as well as migratory routes for birds and marine mammals, cannot be classified as renewable acceleration zones. MEPs have also established provisions to ensure public consultations before choosing project sites.

In addition, the new rules include an obligation for EU countries to ensure that permits to install solar on buildings are issued within three months. For renewable energy installations below 50 kW, notification should suffice. The amendments also state that permitting procedures for storage projects that are co-located with solar should also be expedited, without stating a specific time period.

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