Friday, March 31, 2023

Four communities lose at least fifty renewable parks due to lack of processing

Dozens of projects to build wind and photovoltaic parks in Spain were up in the air from Wednesday to Thursday after losing access points to the energy transport network to which they were entitled. This is because the end of January 25 is the end of the deadline imposed by the Ministry of Ecological Transition to obtain the required Environmental Impact Declaration (DIA). In a kind of race against time, Teresa Ribera’s department claims to have closed two hundred files that were pending. Basically, this compliance has not been possible in the case of four autonomous communities: Galicia, Catalonia, Murcia and the Balearic Islands. Of these, 50 wind farms have been taken out of the administrative process.

This Thursday, most regional governments were able to puff up their chests in order to arrive on time to complete the files laid on the tables of their technicians. Galicia has been the most non-compliant with 20 projects that have not received any response from the junta, neither positive nor negative. They are followed by Catalonia, which has 17 parks pending response, Murcia (11) and the Balearic Islands (the administration suspects two parks without environmental processing).

Definitive figures on installed electricity that have passed through the administration’s sieve and that have lost their connection point due to lack of processing will not be known for the next few weeks, when their processing takes an official form. By the State Official Gazette (BOE) or its regional equivalents. “It is not yet possible to know what percentage of them have not received a response from the administration: there will still be weeks to go,” complains Juan Virgilio Marquez, head of the AEE wind energy employers’ association.

According to the Federation of Wind Energy Companies, the association of promoters of photovoltaic parks does not have definitive data and in the specific case of wind power, twelve gigawatts of wind power that were at risk were resolved at the end of yesterday. Of these, more than three quarters have received a positive environmental impact statement. In Marquez’s words, however, the other seven gigawatts are “at risk”. The reason for this lag is twofold: on the one hand, the date of receipt of the environmental impact statement is not actually the date of publication, but usually a week or more elapses until it is published in the official gazettes; On the other hand, some autonomies “may choose to make some statements of environmental impact as they simply lack the final paper.”

Bureaucratic congestion in recent weeks has compounded much of that impasse: a month ago, at Christmas, the seven gigawatts currently stuck were more than 11 GW. “It’s gone very quickly, which should even make us wonder if everything couldn’t have been done faster in the first place,” says Marquez on the other end of the phone. At PREPA, the union they run, the two men devote much of their work day to combing official bulletins in search of proposals for renewable projects. “There is a need for a system that provides visibility to all potential investors as to how the processes are going. If not, they will see this as a risk when investing in Spain”, he concludes.

Litigation Risk

Promoters who have not received the DIA on time have lost the connection rights to the grid that they had received since 2018 and the 40 euros per megawatt (MW) of power they wanted and as a guarantee to continue Investing was an administrative process. Relying on the administration, there is now the possibility of launching legal claims of parental responsibility for the money that they could have generated if their parks had entered operation and litigation is open to them so that, at the very least, they can get their Don’t lose the guarantee made when they found their point of access.

And for the hundreds of companies that have successfully passed the July 25 date, their administrative odysseys and the red lines marked on the calendar are far from over. To continue with their parks, they will have to wait for the responsible administration to approve the prior administrative authorization on the construction permit (milestone 4) on 25 April (so-called milestone 3) and on 25 July, which is the start date. Last one before you do. Works and when these are completed the park will be able to start.

Arron’s processing of wind farms so that they do not lose their rights to connect to the electricity grid has left 20 files in Galicia that add up to 417 MW. However, the Galician government of the PP introduced regulatory changes to the law in conjunction with the regional budget this year, which benefit these projects whose environmental impact statements have not been approved in time. Its promoters, for example, will be able to continue filing paperwork at regional offices, although they will not receive final authorization until a new access permit is obtained. The affected companies will not lose their guarantees either because, argues the Xunta, the delay is due to the “real impossibility of meeting the deadline” due to “no fault of the promoter”.

After strengthening the workforce with 120 people working on weekends, Christmas and until “12 midnight on any given day”, according to Environment Minister Ángel Vázquez, the Galician government was able to complete another 120 declarations of environmental impact. 77 of which suit them and which provide for the installation of 2,200 MW.

In Catalonia, work has also been overwhelming, but despite this, 17 parks (three wind farms and 14 photovoltaics) with an installed capacity of 542 MW have not been able to complete the process. Currently the autonomous community has around 1,550 MW of installed power between wind and solar. In recent months, Generalitat has awarded 75 friendly DIAs with a capacity of 1,739 MW. Among them, it has validated a park in Emporda, the first electricity generation facility in the province of Girona.

The Valencian Generalitat has analyzed a total of 107 files subject to this January 25 objective, all of which have expired. More than 50% have passed this processing stage as 61 were reported favorably, of which 56 are photovoltaic plants and five are wind farms. Of the remaining 46, 31 have received adverse valuations and 15 have not prospered due to exits from the companies. These projects will generate 1,356 MW of electricity.

The Andalusian government assured yesterday that it has complied with all fifty thousand projects with a capacity of 16,200 MW.

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Nation World News Desk
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