Adoption of EU measures on renewables permitting awaits gas price cap decision
European Council meeting room. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
The EU energy ministers last week agreed in principle on emergency measures to accelerate the permitting of renewable energy projects but the new temporary rules are yet to be adopted.
The ministers also agreed on measures for joint gas purchases and a solidarity mechanism in case of a gas crisis. Both regulations are to be formally adopted at the next extraordinary Energy Council, while a political agreement is being sought on a “market correction mechanism” to limit gas prices.
"I plan on formally approving these measures as a package together with the newly proposed mechanism for capping gas prices at the next extraordinary Energy Council meeting, which I will convene on 13 December," Jozef Sikela, the Czech minister of Industry and Trade, said in a statement.
After the informal agreement on Thursday, SolarPower Europe said: “We strongly encourage Ministers to finalise this discussion and adopt the Regulation at their next meeting, now expected on 13th December. Parallel negotiations on gas price caps should not delay the application of the Regulation in January 2023.”
The permitting measures target solar energy equipment on artificial structures, the repowering of renewable energy power plants and heat pumps. They also state that renewable energy projects are presumed to be in the overriding public interest, which will enable them to benefit from a simplified assessment for a number of environmental obligations. With respect to the overriding public interest presumption, the Council said that “[m]ember states added a possibility to restrict the application of these provisions to certain parts of their territory, types of technologies or projects”
“The Council agreed to give the possibility for member states to apply the faster permitting rules for ongoing permit requests,” its announcement also reads.
Ahead of the energy ministers meeting, WindEurope released a letter signed by leading wind industry CEOs who called for changes to the measures. In particular, they said that the new rules should apply to all renewables permits, rather than to new permits only.
The temporary permitting regulation will be valid for 18 months. It is designed to speed up permitting for renewables until new provisions of the renewable energy directive become effective.