Austria's National Council this week gave the green light to an amendment to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Act that should accelerate the implementation of renewable energy projects and support the energy transition in the country.
The proposal was approved with the votes of the Austrian People's Party (OeVP), the Greens, the Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPOe) and NEOS.
The reform includes measures to increase the efficiency of the EIA process and options for improving its structure as well as adjustments to the procedure at the Federal Administrative Court and to complaints. It ensures that double assessments will be avoided and projects can be approved independently of the designation of areas by provinces if the latter do not have sufficient spatial energy planning.
Wind energy association IG Windkraft welcomed the changes and its legal expert Ursula Naehrer described the reform as a milestone for the wind energy industry.
According to Naehrer, the EIA amendment addresses a large number of obstacles that wind project developers are facing and is expected to result in a significant improvement and acceleration.
In the case of wind energy, the EIA act applies to projects with a capacity of more than 30 MW, or 15 MW in alpine regions. For smaller wind projects, the procedures still need to be accelerated and IG Windkraft is awaiting the draft of the planned Renewable Energy Expansion Acceleration Act.
Choose your newsletter by Renewables Now. Join for free!