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Europe to Fast-Track Permitting for Building Renewable Projects

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(Bloomberg) — The European Union is proposing a cut back in lengthy planning rules for building renewables projects in the latest push to lower electricity prices and reduce gas use in energy.

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The commission, the EU’s executive arm, is proposing a fast-track regulation that will speed up permit-granting procedures for renewables, in particular solar farms, according to a draft document seen by Bloomberg News.

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“The proposed regulation reflects the need to take urgent action in response to the energy crisis,” it said in the document. It “builds upon the objectives for speeding up the reduction in dependency on Russian fossil fuels by deploying renewable energy at a large scale as an alternative source.”

Europe has been trying to balance weaning itself off Russian gas while at the same time continuing to push ahead with plans to decarbonize energy. Bolstering renewables output is being delayed by planning requirements that take as long as 10 years to complete, a hurdle the industry has been lobbying to remove.

The regulation will focus on clearing the way for technologies and types of projects that can be deployed quickly,  helping to reduce price volatility and gas demand. 

The framework will enable measures outlined in the Commission’s REPowerEU plan in May to come into force. Heat pumps, among other renewables projects, will be carved out within environmental law as being of “overriding public interest” to accelerate roll out. 

There will be a maximum deadline of three months for permits for solar panels, related co-located storage and grid connections.

—With assistance from Ewa Krukowska.

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