Emergency permitting measures represent a step backwards

This coming Thursday, November 24, the Energy Ministers of the EU are going to vote on certain emergency measures. That seems like a good plan. However, in their current form, these steps constitute a step in the opposite direction of simplifying the permitting process. Leading CEOs in the wind business have written a letter to ministers urging them to make immediate improvements.

The primary obstacle to the growth of renewable energy sources is the acquisition of necessary permits. There are now 80 gigawatts worth of wind generating capacity that are stalled in the permitting process across Europe. The streamlining and quickening of the permitting process is necessary for a number of reasons, not the least of which is to improve the energy security of Europe.

The updated energy policy of the EU REPowerEU helps to ease the permitting process in several ways. It will implement new regulations that will govern all renewable energy projects, including those that are brand new and those that are already in the process of obtaining permits. The European Council only recently reached a consensus that additional emergency steps should be taken to speed up the permitting process. These urgent steps will be discussed and maybe agreed upon at the Energy Council meeting on Thursday.

Since the emergency measures, in their current form, would only apply to new permit applications, they would only be able to free up a small portion of the wind energy projects that are now in the development stage. When compared to the actions taken by REPowerEU, this constitutes a move in the wrong direction. Today, twenty of the most prominent CEOs in the wind business signed a letter in which they stated that it is hard to justify this move backwards. To reduce its reliance on gas imported from Russia and strengthen its energy security, Europe urgently needs to increase the amount of renewable energy it uses. All permissions will be required to comply with the emergency measures.

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