The European Commission has proposed an emergency intervention. The purpose of the emergency intervention is to lay down the framework of an accelerated development of the green transition via “temporary, proportional and extraordinary” initiatives.
The proposal for a new emergency intervention must be seen in the light of the initiative REPowerEU of 18 May 2022. The emergency intervention is to remove a number of barriers so that projects promoting the green transition can be implemented faster. As it is a regulation, it will, if adopted, be directly applicable in all EU Member States.
Time frame of the proposal
The proposal contains a so-called “sunset clause”. This means that, if adopted, the regulation will expire automatically. It is proposed that the regulation is to apply for one year after adoption. However, the Commission may propose that the validity of the regulation be extended based on the evaluation which is to be initiated no later than on 1 July 2023.
Important focus points in the proposal
The proposal contains initiatives within the following areas:
- Rule of presumption concerning overriding public interest in relation to renewable energy projects
- Roll-out of heat pumps must be simplified
- Solar installations on buildings and minor solar energy equipment are exempted from environmental evaluation
- Acceleration of the procedure concerning repowering projects.
Rule of presumption
The initiative concerning the rule of presumption in relation to renewable energy projects implies that sustainable energy projects are presumed to have “overriding public interest” which will have special importance in relation to the access to licences under the directive on protection of natural resources and the habitat directive. This also includes grid connection. This specifically implies that the exemption provisions of the directive on protection of natural resources are extended, and that the exemption provisions of the habitat directive may be applied. However, the initiative applies only to new permission procedures initiated after the coming into force of the regulation.
The purpose of the initiative concerning heat pumps is to spur the roll-out by shortening and simplifying the licence procedure. The regulation proposes a time limit of maximum three months to obtain a licence.
Solar energy equipment
The regulation’s initiative within solar energy equipment and installations implies an easement of the permission procedure of solar installations on buildings and solar energy equipment with a capacity below 50 kW. It has been proposed to limit the permission procedure to one month in relation to solar installations on building and plants whose primary purpose is not solar energy production. In addition, that type of installation is exempted from the rules on environmental evaluation which will in itself simplify the procedure. A positive rule of presumption is introduced in relation to solar energy equipment with a capacity below 50 kW meaning that an application may be considered approved if the authorities have not responded within one month after the submission of the application.
A time limit of maximum six months is introduced as to the aggregate permission procedure (including relevant environmental evaluation) concerning repowering projects where existing renewable energy projects are upgraded to a higher capacity. If the capacity is increased by up to 15 %, a time limit of one month will be fixed, unless there are special circumstances.
Importance of the regulation
If the regulation is adopted, it will be possible to significantly accelerate the procedure concerning projects within green transition. The central barriers of VE projects are removed (rule of presumption), and the possibility to initiate minor projects within solar cells and heat pumps is increased.
If the regulation is adopted, it will be possible to significantly accelerate the procedure concerning projects within green transition. The central barriers of renewable energy projects are removed (rule of presumption), and the possibility to initiate minor projects within solar energy equipment and heat pumps is increased.
Horten's specialists within Energy & infrastructure and ESG will follow the regulation closely, including the possibilities provided by the regulation, if adopted, as to future renewable energy projects.