3rd Dec 2023

EU aims to speed up renewables permits, removing safeguards

  • Rooftop panels for households will no longer need an official environmental impact assessment (Photo: Panos Mitsios/Greenpeace)
Listen to article

The European Parliament's industry committee on Monday (14 November) approved legislation that will help speed up the deployment of solar, wind and hydro projects.

By determining all renewable energy projects to be of "overriding public interest" certain environmental assessments will no longer be necessary.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"Today, we have laid the foundation for permanently faster processes to issue permits, thereby accelerating the deployment of renewable energies, thus boosting the energy transition," lead MEP Markus Pieper, of the centre-right European People's Party, said.

However, these new relaxed rules are temporary and will initially only apply until "next winter," Mechthild Wörsdörfer, senior energy official at the EU Commission which tabled the proposal, said.

It is part of the wider EU effort to phase out the bloc's dependency on Russian fossil-fuels by speeding up the diversification of energy supplies, accelerating the rollout of renewable energy and increasing energy efficiency. This will also bring down the price. "The more renewable energy, the better it is for consumers," Wörsdörfer said.

The proposal shortens the approval period for new renewable energy installations from twelve to nine months, and requires member states to determine so-called "renewables acceleration areas" where rapid deployment of renewables are allowed.

The permit is approved automatically if the responsible authority does not respond in time. Outside of these areas, permit-granting should not exceed 18 months, MEPs say.

Smaller-scale projects will also become easier. Solar equipment for buildings should be delivered within three months at the maximum. Rooftop panels for households will no longer need an official environmental impact assessment.

The report was adopted by the industry committee. It will now be put up for a general parliamentary vote in December.

Environmental protection

Although supporting the faster uptake of renewables, CEE Bankwatch Network, a Prague-based environmental NGO, warned the legislation undermines environmental rules and calls on lawmakers to maintain existing environmental safeguards and focus instead on using all available rooftop space first.

"Building damaging projects in Natura 2000 sites, areas crucial for birds and on pristine rivers, will not massively increase the EU's overall renewables output," Pippa Gallop, energy advisor at Bankwatch Network, said. "It will just cause additional destruction of nature for very little gain."

The faster permitting process in 'go to' area also gives local communities less time to have their say on the plans, potentially undermining public support.

MEPs agree higher renewables targets, energy-savings

The European Parliament agreed on higher renewable and energy-saving targets for energy consumption in the EU — amid an energy crisis which has prompted the EU to put forward unprecedented measures to curb high energy prices.

Green MEPs in final push for bigger renewables share

Green MEPs are pushing to increase the share of renewables in the EU's final energy consumption mix to 56 percent by 2030, at the revised renewable energy directive plenary vote next week.


Investors in renewables face uncertainty due to EU profits cap

While a cap on revenues from renewables is aimed at redirecting excess profits from low-cost electricity generation back to consumers, analysts and industry groups argue such measures come with risks — and at a bad time.

Polish backpedal on windfarms put EU funds at risk

Draft legislation in Poland aimed at relaxing some of Europe's strictest laws surrounding onshore wind-turbines has been derailed by a surprise last minute amendment, which could put Poland back on a collision course with the EU.


Dubai's COP28 — a view from the ground

Discussion of the biggest existential threat humanity has ever faced is barely mentioned on billboards or signage in Dubai — yet visitors are made aware quite quickly that t world rugby sevens tournament is imminent.

Latest News

  1. Israel's EU ambassador: 'No clean way to do this operation'
  2. Brussels denies having no 'concern' on Spain's amnesty law
  3. Dubai's COP28 — a view from the ground
  4. Germany moves to criminalise NGO search-and-rescue missions
  5. Israel recalls ambassador to Spain in new diplomatic spat
  6. Migrant return bill 'obstructed' as EU states mull new position
  7. Paris and Berlin key to including rape in gender-violence directive
  8. What are the big money debates at COP28 UN climate summit?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  3. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  4. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?
  5. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsThis autumn Europalia arts festival is all about GEORGIA!
  6. UNOPSFostering health system resilience in fragile and conflict-affected countries

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us