The Spanish ministry for the ecological transition succeeded in completing environmental impact assessment (EIA) reports for hundreds of 50-MW-plus renewable energy projects in time for the January 25 deadline it had enshrined in a 2020 law regulating the permitting process for the electricity sector.
Of the total of 201 projects evaluated by the ministry, 170 were issued a favourable EIA and 22 an unfavourable one, while the remaining nine were dismissed for not following some of the guidelines, the Spanish media reported.
The minister for the ecological transition, Teresa Ribera, was quoted as saying that her department processed all of the files “100% “, while full reports on whether the regional governments had done so still have to arrive.
Energy departments of Spain’s autonomous regions, which handle permitting for projects of below 50 MW, were previously reported to be flooded with applications for EIAs and barely able to deal with the workload, as was the ministry.
Regional newspapers across Spain said that some local governments had success with clearing their piles, assigning favourable, favourable with conditions or unfavourable status to the EIAs or dismissing the projects for not meeting environmental or other standards. Some companies voluntarily withdrew their projects from the evaluation process, as was the case in the Valencian Community, local outlet Alicante Plaza reported.
Had the January deadline been missed, Spain’s central and regional governments would have been at risk of being sued by renewable energy companies for not complying with their own laws and denying them the key document they need to move their projects forward to construction and operation licences.
Some media outlets in Spain have mentioned figures of around 80 GW to close to 100 GW worth of renewables capacity that had been at stake on January 25.
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