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Lurking pitfalls

The EU Emergency Regulation is intended to massively accelerate the expansion of renewable energies in the short term. However, the exact opposite is threatening, because the regulation, which will be voted on in the EU today, contains a number of pitfalls.

Will the emergency regulation be of any use? In its current form, pitfalls lurk, associations warn. (Image: Pixabay)Will the emergency regulation be of any use? In its current form, pitfalls lurk, associations warn. (Image: Pixabay)

More speed in the expansion of renewables - that is the order of the day in Europe in view of the energy crisis. To speed up the often cumbersome process of EU legislation, the Council of Energy Ministers is thus to adopt an emergency regulation to accelerate the expansion of renewable energies. In itself a laudable thing - if there weren't some pitfalls lurking in the regulation that could have the exact opposite effect.

The new EU energy strategy REPowerEU has already been doing much to simplify approval processes. The European wind energy association WindEurope emphasizes this in its statement. It introduces new rules that apply to all renewables, both new projects and those currently in the permitting process.

As it stands, however, the urgent measures presented would only apply to new permit applications, not to the bulk of the 80 gigawatts of wind energy capacity currently stuck in permitting procedures across Europe. At the same time, simplifying and accelerating the approval procedures is of crucial importance for expansion.

This fact is attracting the attention of companies from the renewables sector, which are now addressing the EU in a letter of protest. It says: "The Regulation was meant to help accelerate permitting for renewables. That is an excellent goal." But in fact, the current regulation "would set us back compared to the provisions currently discussed between Council and European Parliament as part of the Renewable Energy Directive revision. The Emergency Regulation must ensure these rules apply to all renewables permits. Whether they are new or pending."

They are therefore calling for the urgency ordinance to be amended. The letter was signed by the CEOs of GE Renewable Energy, Enercon, Ørsted, RWE, Vattenfall and Vestas, among others.

The approval processes are too complex and take too long (Image: Pixabay).

The German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) also warns: "According to the draft of the EU Commission, even stricter requirements could apply to the protection of species than are currently envisaged. Thus, in the future, protection measures could be ordered without cause as a minimum requirement for renewable projects. Even if the provision leaves room for interpretation in other directions, in our experience, these are not taken in favor of the project developers in practice," says Kerstin Andreae, Chairwoman of the BDEW Executive Board.

In Germany in particular, this would significantly worsen the current legal situation. In order to achieve the desired acceleration effect with the regulation, the specifications would have to be further developed in the sense of a real reversal from individual to population protection, according to BDEW.

The wind industry in particular urgently needs the long-awaited impetus. While the mood in the industry remains good according to the latest WindEnergy trend:index, figures speak a different language: There are still not enough wind turbines being built to meet Germany's climate protection targets. Besides problems in the supply chain, the biggest problems are a lack of skilled workers - and slow approval processes. The EU could now make a decisive difference to the latter at least.

Katrin Radtke
BDEW, WindEurope, Germany, EU, Emergency Regulation, process, expansion, renewable energy, pitfall, approval, permit

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