May 16 -- The European Commission is expected to propose next week faster permitting for renewable energy projects as part of its plan to increase the uptake of renewable energy to cut reliance on Russian energy and speed up the energy transition, Reuters reported on Monday, quoting a draft document it had seen.
After Putin's invasion of Ukraine, the EU has signaled that doubling down on renewables was one way to cut its reliance on Russian oil and gas.
The Commission's REPowerEU plan to make Europe independent from Russian fossil fuels well before 2030 includes diversification of gas supplies, speeding up the roll-out of renewable gases, increasing electricity generation from renewables, and replacing gas in heating and power generation.
"The quicker we switch to renewables and hydrogen, combined with more energy efficiency, the quicker we will be truly independent and master our energy system," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in early March at the presentation of the plan.
The Commission is now scheduled to detail next week how the EU could achieve those goals. The proposals are expected to include a requirement for EU member states to designate "go-to areas" onshore or offshore that they consider suitable for developing renewable energy projects with low environmental impact.
"The permit-granting process for new projects located in renewables go-to areas shall not exceed one year," according to the document Reuters has seen.
Renewable energy associations have flagged for years slow permitting as a major roadblock to the EU advancing its green energy goals. For example, WindEurope's annual statistics report found in February that the problem is not government ambition, but its permitting.
"Most EU countries have ambitious national targets for the expansion of wind energy. But permitting remains the main bottleneck. Europe is not permitting anything like the volumes of new wind farms needed. And almost none of the Member States meets the deadlines for permitting procedures required in the EU Renewable Energy Directive. The permitting rules and procedures are too complex," the European wind energy association said.