07 Nov 2022, 13:35
Sören Amelang

Sprawling and slow bureaucracy undermines Germany’s energy transition – industry

Clean Energy Wire

Excessive red tape hinders Germany’s shift to a low-emission economy, according to a report by industry association BDI. Planning and approval procedures are not only becoming increasingly complicated and burdensome, but also take an average of six months longer than required by law, the lobby group concluded after analysing 250 recent procedures. Bureaucracy is a "bottleneck for supply security and the transformation of the economy," said BDI head Siegfried Russwurm. "The key to achieving the climate targets lies in faster approval procedures – at all levels and in all procedural stages.” The BDI outlined complex or contradictory regulations, a lack of standards, insufficient staff at authorities and courts, as well as unreliable cooperation between different administrations, all slow bureaucracy down. 

"Whereas it used to take two expert opinions to reach a decision, today it takes five to ten," the analysis says. The industry group found that it takes one and a half years on average for authorities to just gather all the necessary documents. So-called simplified approval procedures take an average of nine months to process, which is three times longer than envisaged by legislation. Russwurm said the energy crisis added further pressure to radically simplify and accelerate bureaucracy. “The industry expects a doubling of approval procedures by 2030 – due to the green and digital transformation and the urgently needed temporary fuel switch from gas to oil in many companies.” 

Germany’s government has said it wants to dramatically accelerate permit procedures for renewables and other investments to allow an acceleration of the energy transition. But progress on the issue has been slow.

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