Germany aims to generate 80 per cent of its electricity from renewables by 2030. So far this goal has been hampered by bureaucracy.
Renewable energy is key as the country tries to become independent of Russian gas imports while chasing ambitious climate targets. Yet wind and solar projects are currently subject to extensive paperwork and lengthy decision making and approval processes.
New emergency regulations, agreed at the EU level in December and approved by the German cabinet on Monday, aim to accelerate the expansion of renewables by cutting some of this red tape.
How does Germany plan to remove red tape for renewables?
Under the new measures, which are yet be voted on in parliament, wind and solar projects would be approved more quickly. This will be achieved by simplifying licensing, setting deadlines for permitting procedures.
In certain areas, such as landfills, permitting procedures for solar power projects would be limited to three months, and to one month for smaller heat pumps.
New renewables projects will be granted the status of ‘overriding public interest’. This would give relevant authorities the ability to accelerate approvals for wind power plants.
Standards for conservation assessment of wind turbines and power lines are also being simplified. In certain areas, only one environmental assessment will be required, removing the need for environmental impact assessments and species protection assessments.
The new measures will apply to all projects starting from June 2024.
How is the EU supporting Germany’s renewables industry?
Last month, the EU approved €28 billion scheme aimed at rapidly expanding use of wind and solar power in Germany. The scheme pays a premium to renewable energy producers, on top of the market price they receive for selling their power.
Germany plans to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045. Expanding clean energy production will be key to meeting this goal.
In 2022, renewables accounted for almost 47 per cent of German power consumption. This was an increase of almost 5 per cent on the previous year thanks to favourable weather conditions.