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11 Nov 2022, 13:31
Benjamin Wehrmann

Germany says EU proposal to limit environmental checks key to speed up energy transition

Clean Energy Wire

The European Commission’s proposals for emergency measures to speed up the expansion of renewable energy would give Germany the opportunity to quickly implement a number of measures aimed at cushioning the effects of the energy crisis and bring down prices, government coalition representatives have said. “The regulation is a crucial key for the energy crisis to quickly become independent from Russian gas while also achieving our climate targets,” economy and climate minister Robert Habeck said. “I’m glad that the Commission has followed our call in the EU Council to introduce emergency measures,” he added. The Commission’s proposal would help to significantly accelerate licensing procedures for wind turbines, roof-mounted solar power installations and heat pumps, the Green Party minister said. Social Democrat (SPD) deputy parliamentary group leader Matthias Miersch said especially the proposed regulatory changes to species protection and environmental suitability would remove hurdles that cause a lot of delay in renewables expansion.

Unlike an EU directive – which sets out a goal for which each member state then has to devise a national law – the Commission’s proposal to speed up renewables expansion is a so-called EU regulation, a binding legislative act which directly applies across the EU. It includes provisions for making renewable power installations matters of overriding public interest, which streamlines and relaxes licensing procedures, for example with respect to environmental regulation. It also speeds up roof-mounted solar PV installation licensing and the re-powering of existing installations, for example when replacing old wind turbines with newer ones. The proposal supplements existing EU measures in the energy crisis and will become effective initially for one year after receiving approval by the EU Council, presumably at the end of November, the economy ministry said.

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