Catalonia backs renewables of up to 5 MW, toughens rules for larger projects

Solar panels in Spain. Author: Jordi Domènech i Arnau. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic.

October 27 (Renewables Now) - The Catalan government on Tuesday approved a new piece of legislation to prioritise the installation of renewable energy systems of up to 5 MW and impose tougher requirements for large-scale projects during the permitting process.

The government in Barcelona said that the measure, an amendment to a two-year old decree law, is aimed at bringing order to the renewable energy deployment and introduces improvements to accelerate the roll-out of solar PV and wind power in Catalonia.

The permitting process will be easier for projects that can connect to the medium-voltage network or are below 5 MW of power as the Catalan government seeks to promote a “democratic and participatory energy model”.

The measure will also help boost the installation of electricity systems for self-consumption at industrial sites and residential buildings, the government expects.

Wind and solar projects can still be developed in Catalonia, but in agreement with local territories and in a way that minimises the territorial and social impact.

If larger projects want to get ahead in the permitting process, their promoters have to demonstrate that they have agreements in place with land-owners for at least 50% of the land, according to a report by Spanish daily newspaper El Pais.

Project owners will also be required to demonstrate that they have offered at least 20% interest in the project to local investors including municipalities, El Pais reported.

The amendment to the decree law will have to be confirmed by the parliament within a month. The Catalan government said the measure will immediately push out 19 5-MW projects that have been developed in line with the distributed and democratic energy model.

Catalonia ranks seventh out of all 17 Spanish regions by installed renewable energy capacity, which stood at 3,588 MW at the end of 2020, just 6 MW more than the year before, according to Spanish grid operator Red Electrica de Espana (REE).

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Sladjana has significant experience as a Spain-focused business news reporter and is now diving deeper into the global renewable energy industry. She is the person to seek if you need information about Latin American renewables and the Spanish market.

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