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    German govt approves accelerated procedures for wind, solar projects

    January 31, 2023 - SeeNews Renewables


      January 31 (Renewables Now) - The German government has given the green light to EU measures that will further accelerate the approval processes for wind and solar energy projects as well power grids.

      The package of measures was proposed by the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) as an implementation of EU emergency regulation that was adopted at the end of 2022.

      The EU emergency regulation, which allows for a significant acceleration of renewables expansion in the member states, will be implemented in Germany's laws through amendments to the Wind Energy Area Requirement Act, the Offshore Wind Energy Act and the Energy Industry Law. The draft, passed by the federal government on Monday, will be included in the parliamentary procedure for amending the Spatial Planning Act.

      The accelerated process will apply to all approval procedures for onshore and offshore wind projects as well as power grids with a capacity of 110 kV or more that begin before June 30, 2024. Approval procedures that have already been launched can also take advantage of the amendments.

      Under the new regulation, projects in areas designated for renewable energy and power grids that have already undergone a strategic environmental assessment (SEA), will no longer be obliged to go through an environmental impact assessment (EIA) and a review under the species protection law.

      However, the authorities must ensure that project developers take appropriate and proportionate measures to protect species.

      Further regulations for accelerated approval procedures, which do not have to be transposed into national law, include a shorter period of licensing for solar projects such as rooftop solar systems and solar panels on artificial structures like landfills. In these cases, the procedure will take up to three months in future.

      In the case of the repowering of renewable energy plants or grid reinforcement measures, the EIA is limited to the additional load of the new system compared to the existing installation. When it comes to the repowering of solar systems, the EIA can be omitted entirely under certain circumstances.

      In addition, the new regulation limits the duration of the approval process for the installation of heat pumps of less than 50 MW to one month and for geothermal heat pumps -- to three months.

      Economy minister Robert Habeck commented that the reform of the Renewable Energy Act (EEG), the increase in the maximum rates for the wind and solar tenders and a number of other changes have paved the way for speeding up the rollout of renewables. The federal states and the relevant authorities now have the legal basis to push ahead with the expansion of wind power and to approve projects quickly, Habeck added.


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