In recent days, scores of renewable energy companies in Spain made announcements that they had received favourable environmental impact assessments (EIAs) for their wind and solar projects just before the deadline for getting this key document in the permitting process expired on January 25.
The clock started ticking when the Spanish government approved the Royal Decree-Law (RDL) 23/2020 on June 23, 2020, which went into force on June 25 that year. The law covered a lot of ground, but for renewables, it brought new rules for how the permitting process would work from then on.
According to the RDL 23/2020, some developers had 22 months to obtain the EIA. The deadline was pushed once, for nine months to January 25, 2023, to give authorities time to review the mountain of files. As those nine months were coming to an end, the question was not whether project developers observed the deadline, but whether the central and regional governments in charge of issuing EIAs would be able to manage the workload on time.
The following are some of the Spanish companies that reported success with obtaining a favourable EIA before January 25:
Grenergy Renovables SL (BME:GRE) said it had received the green light for three solar PV projects in Spain, totalling 472 MW. The projects are the 250-MW Tabernas, the 50-MW Jose Cabrera and the 172-MW Ayora.
Spanish utility Naturgy Energy Group SA (BME:NTGY) said it had obtained favourable EIAs for 18 wind and solar projects with a total of 1,300 MW. Among these is the company's largest solar PV project in Spain, the 300-MW Campo de Aranuelo.
Spanish independent power producer (IPP) Opdenergy Holding SA (BME:OPDE) said it had 2,320 MW of projects in the bureaucracy that had to meet the January 25 deadline. These include 1,101 MW covered by the IPP’s agreement with renewables investor Bruc Energy to hand over the projects at ready-to-build stage.
Spanish solar energy developer Solaria Medio y Ambiente SA (BME:SLR) said its 3,985 MW of projects were regulated by the RDL 23/2020, and it had obtained favourable EIAs for all of them before the deadline expired.
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