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EU Council extends emergency renewable energy measures

Three-month solar panel permit wait times, rooftop installations and projects under 50 kW not requiring environmental impact assessments, and a raft of other emergency measures aimed at accelerating the European Union’s (EU) renewable energy rollout have been extended until mid-2024 to combat the energy crisis.

European Council energy ministers have agreed to extend a slate of emergency measures – including “accelerating the deployment of renewable energy” – introduced late last year to combat rising energy prices until June 2024, according to a European Council announcement from yesterday.

Solar panel permit wait times not exceeding three months; solar panel rooftop installations and projects under 50 kW not requiring environmental impact assessments; and heat pump permit-granting processes not exceeding one month for installations below 50 MW and three months for ground-source heat pumps are among the renewable energy-relevant directives.

“It is appropriate to promote and accelerate the deployment of small-scale solar installations, including for renewables self-consumers and collective self-consumers, such as local energy communities, since those are the options that cost least, are most accessible and have the least environmental or other type of impact for a fast roll-out of new renewable installations,” the legislation states.

European Council Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge Minister Teresa Ribera said extending the raft of emergency measures was necessary to address the “still-fragile” situation in the EU following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“This will allow us to ensure the stabilization of the energy markets, alleviate the effect of the crisis and protect EU citizens from excessive high energy prices,” she said.

Regulation (EU) 2022/2577 was first introduced in Dec. 2022 to tackle rising energy prices, reduce the EU’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels and advance climate emergency initiatives, according to the document. Its levers are designed to target technologies that can be implemented in the short term and have “large” potential for reducing gas consumption and energy bills.

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Other energy instruments in the recent announcement include extending the monitoring of European gas prices and issuing notices when price breaches occur, as well as “enhancing solidarity through better coordination of gas purchases” through revised legislative language.

Meanwhile, the European Heat Pump Association (EHPA) has come out today slamming the European Commission for delaying the publication of its hotly-anticipated Heat Pump Action Plan. According to the EHPA press release, it will now be released after the European Union elections in June next year.

“Postponing the finalisation of this plan to after the election can only be called a mistake,” EHPA Secretary General Thomas Nowak said.

“We urge President von der Leyen, Commissioner for Energy Simson and all Commissioners to review and revert it urgently.”

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Source: pv magazine