The approval of many solar systems should take a maximum of one month in the future.

Heat pumps should be approved after a maximum of three months, and the green light should be given for the modernization of wind farms after six months at the latest.

The European Commission wants to speed up the expansion of renewable energies.

To this end, she proposes a regulation limited to one year in order to remove bureaucratic obstacles to the energy transition.

"Often the biggest bottlenecks are in the granting of permits, which hinders rapid progress," said EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson in Brussels.

Katja Gelinsky

Business correspondent in Berlin

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The EU energy ministers should already be dealing with the proposal at their meeting on November 24, so that the emergency regulation can come into force by January 1, 2023.

The proposals could “make a difference in the coming months, directly benefiting citizens and businesses,” Simon said.

The Brussels authorities themselves are under pressure.

"We have asked the Commission to put concrete legislative proposals on the table as a matter of urgency," warned EU Council President Charles Michel: "It is no longer an option to procrastinate."

Michael Bloss, spokesman for climate policy for the Greens in the European Parliament, said that the "renewables turbo-charge as a response to Putin's attempts at blackmailing gas" is urgently needed.

The member states would then have to implement the measures quickly.

The general manager of the BSW – Federal Association of the Solar Industry, Carsten Körnig, called for the federal, state and local authorities as well as the network operators to implement the acceleration in their specialist laws and in their everyday administration.

For example, property owners are not obliged to tolerate the connection of solar parks to the grid.

"This repeatedly leads to considerable delays and often makes projects unnecessarily expensive."

Legislation drags on

The deputy federal chairman of the CDU and spokesman for the Union faction for climate protection and energy, Andreas Jung, demanded that the federal government take the ball from Brussels.

It was a missed opportunity that Economics Minister Habeck (Greens) did not seek an "eco-energy consensus" with the federal states to accelerate the expansion.

At the EU summit on October 20th and 21st, the heads of state and government called for a rapid simplification of approval procedures in order to accelerate the expansion of renewable energies.

As can be heard from Brussels, Robert Habeck's Federal Ministry of Economics had put the pressure on.

In the spring, the Commission had already proposed changes to the law for faster expansion.

However, the legislative process for the Renewable Energy Directive (RED IV) with the participation of the EU Parliament will still take some time, so the new directive will probably not come into force until 2024.

The emergency ordinance proposed by the Commission in the accelerated legislative procedure is intended to bridge the period until then.

Participation of the EU Parliament is not required here.

Tacit Consent

In detail, the Commission's proposal stipulates that approval procedures for smaller solar systems, such as those on roofs, including the associated storage systems and grid connections, should not last longer than one month.

If the authority does not comment within this period, the system is considered approved.

In addition, exemptions from environmental assessments are planned.

Environmental, nature and species protection assessments should also be restricted or shortened when expanding and renewing existing wind and solar parks (repowering).

According to the Brussels proposal, no environmental impact assessment should be carried out for solar projects that do not require additional space.

All renewable energy projects covered by the emergency ordinance are to be considered projects of “overriding public interest”.

This would not only mean a simplified examination in the approval process, projects such as wind farms would also be more difficult to challenge in court.

German environmental protection associations have voiced strong criticism of these plans.

“An acceleration in the expansion of wind and solar energy cannot be achieved by establishing at EU level that renewables take precedence over any other concern, such as nature.

Even a general ignoring of violations of EU species protection law does not lead to acceleration, but only to protests on site," said NABU President Jörg-Andreas Krüger.

"The undermining of EU nature conservation law is completely unacceptable," criticized Olaf Bandt, Chairman of the Association for the Environment and Nature Conservation Germany (BUND).

The problems lie mainly in the member states, which have delayed the expansion.

Frank Fellenberg, specialist lawyer for administrative law at the Redeker law firm in Berlin, said that many of the difficulties were in fact "homemade".

However, the emergency regulation also aims to provide an incentive for acceleration, particularly in those member states in which the expansion of renewable energies is not progressing.

Although individual environmental standards would be lowered, “but with a sense of proportion”.

The planned simplifications only apply temporarily and selectively.