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Enabling framework for renewables

To simplify permitting processes for renewable energy projects, facilitate power purchase agreements and empower citizens.


Permitting processes

In some EU countries, permitting processes can be an obstacle to renewable energy projects in general. To address the issue, the revised Renewable Energy Directive (2018/2001/EU) includes provisions that simplify permitting processes. This will help setting in motion renewable energy projects, while taking into account legitimate concerns of citizens and respecting environmental standards.

The Commission proposes a series of measures in its Communication “REPowerEU: Joint EU action for more affordable, secure and sustainable energy”, published on 8 March 2022, and in the REPowerEU plan of 18 May 2022, to respond to the rising energy prices and to shed the EU’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels. To further accelerate renewable energy projects and remove remaining administrative obstacles, the Commission published a recommendation on speeding up permit-granting procedures for renewable energy projects and a proposal for a targeted amendment of the Renewable Energy Directive.

To gather relevant inputs from stakeholders, the Commission contracted a study and launched a call for evidence and a public consultation in the first quarter of 2022. The interim report for the “RES Simplify” study provides a comprehensive overview of the barriers and good practices related to permit-granting identified in EU countries, Norway and Iceland. The final RES Simplify report is expected by April 2023.

Power purchase agreements

Renewable power purchase agreements (PPAs) – direct contracts between corporate companies and electricity suppliers – are expected to become a major driver for more market-based renewables deployment in the coming years. However, the take-up of this concept has been much slower than expected.

The planned guidance on permit-granting processes and PPAs will provide recommendations on how best to facilitate power purchase agreements.

Renewable energy communities

The revised Renewable Energy Directive places a strong emphasis on citizens to make it easier for them to consume and produce renewable energy.

By introducing provisions on renewable energy communities, the directive gives citizens the possibility to jointly engage in renewable energy projects. Empowering citizens in the clean energy transition may also help increase the local acceptance of renewable energy projects.

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