Energy: EU Commission wants to approve solar systems faster

In the fight against the energy crisis, the EU Commission wants to speed up approvals for many solar systems significantly.

Energy: EU Commission wants to approve solar systems faster

In the fight against the energy crisis, the EU Commission wants to speed up approvals for many solar systems significantly. These should be approved within a month at most, according to a proposal for an emergency law presented on Wednesday. For heat pumps, the Brussels authorities are proposing an approval period of no more than three months. The law is to apply for one year and must be approved by the EU states before it can come into force.

"Today's proposals can already make a difference in the coming months, directly benefiting citizens and businesses," said EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson.

Projects in "outstanding public interest"

Projects with renewable energies would be considered by the law to be in "overriding public interest". Wind farms, for example, would thus be exempt from certain environmental protection rules and would be more difficult to challenge in court. In the case of small solar panels and solar systems, for example on roofs or parking lots, certain environmental assessments would be omitted. When expanding or renovating existing renewable energy systems - such as equipping wind farms with more modern wind turbines - the approval including environmental assessment should take a maximum of six months.

In the spring, the EU Commission had already proposed long-term changes in the law in order to approve green power plants more quickly and to boost their expansion. The European Parliament and the EU states are currently negotiating this. The new proposal is intended to be temporary given the rise in energy prices.

project met with criticism

The project met with criticism from environmentalists. The undermining of EU nature conservation law is completely unacceptable, explained Olaf Bandt, chairman of the Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland (BUND). The proposal therefore concerns important principles of species protection, such as the bird protection directive. "The action taken by the EU Commission is highly questionable," said Bandt.

The European Environment Bureau (EEB) criticized that the emergency regulation creates legal uncertainty because it is only valid for one year and is not in line with the longer-term legal plans. "Overall, the proposals do not seem appropriate or proportionate from a legal perspective," said EEB's Laura Hildt.

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