The EU Energy Ministers and the EU Council just reached an agreement on targeted amendments to the renewable energy directive, proposed under the REPowerEU plan. The plan aims to increase the use of renewable energy in the EU by establishing “go-to areas” for renewables, which are areas with lower environmental risks that will have shortened and simplified permitting processes.
Member states will be required to map out the areas necessary for meeting the 2030 renewable energy target within 18 months of the directive coming into force, and to designate “renewables go-to areas” within 30 months of the directive coming into force. These areas will be chosen because they are particularly suitable for specific renewable energy technologies and present lower risks for the environment. The Council also confirmed the target of at least 40% of the share of energy from renewable sources in 2030 in the EU’s gross final consumption. The current target, set in the 2018 renewable energy directive, is 32.5% in 2030. The Commission’s proposal in the REPowerEU plan was to increase the target to at least 45% in 2030.
Permitting processes for renewable go-to areas will not be allowed to take longer than one year for renewables projects, and two years for offshore renewables projects. For areas outside go-to areas, the permit-granting processes should not exceed two years, and three years for offshore renewables projects. In cases of repowering of plants and for new installations with an electrical capacity of less than 150 kW, co-located energy storage facilities as well as their grid connection, the processes should be limited to six months, and one year if they concern offshore wind energy projects.