The Ministry for the Ecological Transition reacted to the bureaucratic logjam of renewable projects after the mess with the Environmental Impact Statements (DIA), which have brought the central government and the autonomous communities upside down in recent months. The department headed by Teresa Ribera has created the Electric Power Projects Division through Order TED/189/2023, of February 21, which is published this Tuesday by the Official State Gazette (BOE).
The text emphasizes that, under the current context of the use of renewable energy, “it is necessary to reinforce the administrative resources dedicated to this type of procedure.” “In order to respond to the challenges that this process and the exponential growth of renewable projects imply, it is necessary to have the organizational structures and the human resources necessary to process the projects that are underway in their substantive aspect,” he highlights.
From the Executive, who affirm that the new division “will not mean an increase in public spending” processing. To establish this figure, it must be remembered that there are already 45 GW of wind and photovoltaic energy in operation and that the objective of the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan (PNIEC) for these technologies in 2030 is 90 GW. In addition, these access permissions are transformed into a “huge number of projects”. Only in the General State Administration (AGE), which processes projects of more than 50 MW or that cultivate two or more autonomous communities, there are currently 990 projects, with a total power of 83 GW, in different stages of processing.
“This volume of projects associated with the ecological transition has overwhelmed all the organizations that participate in some phase of the processing of the projects, which has generated significant delays in processing times and, paradoxically, that the rate of renewable power that comes into service every year has slowed down”, explains the ministerial order published in the BOE.
Specific administrative unit
In this sense, Ecological Transition raises the need to have a specific administrative unit, with civil servants, dependent on the Secretary of State for Energy, which allows speeding up the processing of renewable projects and contributes in the short term to a mitigation of prices of energy. “This unit will also be responsible for the authorization of the electric power transmission and distribution facilities under the jurisdiction of the AGE, since the authorization procedure is common to that of renewable energy generation facilities and because these are grid installations. transport and distribution are also critical to enable the development of renewable energies in our country”, the text qualifies.
Now, the next step that promoters of renewable projects have to solve will be to obtain prior administrative authorization, with a deadline of April 25. This grants the right to carry out a specific installation and under certain conditions. Subsequently, with another three months to spare, until July 25, you must obtain the administrative authorization for construction.
Sources from the sector consulted by this means assure that these two steps are “quite salvageable” and that they will not cause great chaos as has been the case for obtaining the environmental impact assessment. The same sources indicate that it will complicate it with the final administrative authorization for exploitation. This can be extended until June 25, 2025 at the latest, but the sector warns that this is where the “real bottleneck” will occur. Red Electrica currently takes between five and six months to grant the exploitation authorization, so the photovoltaic and wind farms should already be built by the end of 2024 to enter the deadline. This last requirement is the one that allows, once the project has been executed, to put the facilities under tension and proceed to their exploitation.
The period required for the construction of a photovoltaic installation is around 18 months, while for a wind installation this period increases to 24 months. For its part, at the European level, work is also being done on ways to speed up the processing of projects through the review of the current renewables directive or the recent Regulation (EU) 2022/2577 of the Council of December 22, 2022 by which establishes a framework to accelerate the use of renewable energy.