Government and communities ‘free’ a third of stuck renewable projects | companies

On December 27, the Official State Gazette (BOE) published the environmental impact resolution of the Balsicas photovoltaic park, with almost 100 MW capacity, located in the Murcian towns of Cartagena and Torre Pacheco. Promoted by the company Energías Renovables de la Región de Murcia, the project, whose application for an environmental impact statement (DIA) had been processed in October 2021 before the Ministry of Ecological Transition, He is the last one that has achieved the approval of this department.

Both the ministry that directs Teresa Ribera how the autonomous communities (the first responsible for the authorization of projects of more than 50 MW and the second, of those with a lower power) have accelerated in a palpable way an administrative procedure that was kept in the air just a month ago to 80,000 MW of renewables through the bureaucratic funnel at the windows. These megawatts will lose their rights of access and connection to the networks, granted by electrical networkif they do not achieve said permissions before January 25and they must look for other locations and start the procedures from scratch.

However, in a few weeks, almost one day yes and another too, the BOE and the official bulletins of the autonomous communities are publishing pending environmental declarations at a hitherto unknown rate, which in some cases have been negative. Following Ribera’s announcement that the Government would not extend said term (it would be the third time it has done so) and the pressure from the affected developers who threaten contentious appeals against the Administrations that do not meet the January milestone, these the batteries have been put.

There are no official data on how many of the 80,000 MW pending a month ago (60,000 photovoltaic and 19,000 wind, according to the sectoral associations UNEF and AEE) have been released, since the resolutions are published every day. But from the information provided by large and medium-sized energy companies, it can be extrapolated that it could already be almost a third of that capacity which would have passed the DIA process.

Endesa, which does not have a large volume of megawatts subject to the expiration of January 25, has recently received the environmental green light for a solar plant in Antas (Almería), of 250 MW, and another in Córdoba, of another 50 MW.

naturgyFor its part, it has just obtained the favorable DIA for six wind projects in Galicia, totaling 136 MW. The last one, that of the Piago park, with seven wind turbines with a capacity of 28 MW and an investment of 28 million. PDEwhich had between eight and ten pending DIA projects, has achieved up to three positive resolutions in a few days, despite having been on the waiting list for a long time.

Also among medium-sized companies they recognize the progress after the recent unlocking of many of their DIAs, something that did not happen before the summer. Among them, according to industry sources, are Forestalia, Solaria, RIC Renovables or Capital Energy.

It is noteworthy that, despite the fact that the environmental impact statement is a very long process in itself because it is a guarantee, projects that should have been resolved a long time ago are being taken out of the drawer. As an example, the case of an autonomous community that had been resolving six DIAs in one year and that in 2022 has resolved more than thirty.

rush is bad

But the situation by autonomous communities continues to be uneven. It is assumed that three of them will meet the objective: Extremadura, Castilla-La Mancha and Andalusia. Those furthest behind (although some, like Galicia, are making an obvious effort), may not make it. The Valencian Community, Catalonia, Castilla y León or Navarra continue with great delays. As for the Ministry of Ecological Transition, which evaluates large projects, it is going to forced marches and “it is taking everything out in reasonable terms, at a good pace,” business sources say.

Many developers complain, however, that the pressure that regional officials are receiving is causing them to negative statements are being given which, in a normal situation, would be positive. When in doubt and in the face of haste, they prefer to resolve the DIAs by rejecting them with different arguments, rather than continue analyzing them and not meeting the January 25 deadline.

Given the possibility that the Government could extend the deadline at the last moment, some of the affected companies want to make it clear that they do not want more postponements, but that the Administrations speed up so that your projects can move forward. In the case of refusals, Red Eléctrica would recover connection points for projects that are in the queue.

The deadline to lose access to the network ends at the end of February

Although the projects that are pending the environmental impact declaration (DIA) have until January 25 to receive it (it can be positive or negative), the managers of the networks (the distributors or the transporter, REE) will not be able to declare formally the expiration of the access rights they have been granted until a month has passed, at the end of February.

Because one issue is the resolution of the DIA and another is their notification, which the Administrations can publish in subsequent weeks. Therefore, the managers that grant the access permissions (essentially, REE) have to wait that time. At the beginning of December, the DIAs for renewable projects with a capacity of 80,000 MW still remained to be resolved.

The Ministry for the Ecological Transition has made it clear that it will not extend the deadline because, according to political sources, it would mean supporting the slowness of the regional administrations. The communities allege that the evaluation system is so guaranteeing that it prolongs the DIA processes for more than 30 months. In addition, another 34 months must be added for the rest of the authorizations, in addition to the construction period. However, in view of the momentum seen in recent weeks, a large part of the delays do not seem to be justified.

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