Is Europe showing the way on permitting reform?
- Jun 9, 2023 3:32 pm GMT
The permitting process in the U.S. is flat out broken. And we’re not alone, but Europe is posed to address the problem.
Europe has proposed to modify its Renewable Energy Directive and set a two-year maximum for permitting new projects and a one year max for repowering projects. If passed, it will apply to all permit applications submitted from January 2023. That includes grid connection and environmental impact assessments (EIAs).
And get this, they are actually attempting to bring the grid into the 21st century by requiring governments to digitize everything. What a novel concept – using technology to increase productivity.
Another revision would require member states to create accelerated renewable energy areas. That would reduce deadlines to one year for new projects and six months for repowering in those areas.
Finally, one somewhat controversial is making it law that renewable energy projects are of overriding public interest. Translation: carbon reduction and energy security would trump environmental impacts unless it can be proven otherwise. The result: environmentalists would have a much higher burden to halt projects.
The vote on the revisions is scheduled for this month. If approved, member states would have 27 months to implement the accelerated area provisions.
It will be interesting to see if the EU is able to move these changes forward. Although some of Europe’s changes would face greater headwinds in the U.S. we need the federal government to take charge and find ways to expedite permitting to have any chance of achieving our stated goals. The good news is that there are signs of that beginning to happen.
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