Reactivate renewables |  Opinion

Reactivate renewables | Opinion

In recent days, the Government and autonomous communities have resolved —positively or negatively— dozens of environmental impact declarations that had been stuck for months in the bureaucratic web and that had approximately 80,000 MW of renewable energy projects —wind and, above all, solar photovoltaic—, which endangered its viability. The pace has accelerated notably since the third vice president and minister for the Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, announced that there would not be a new extension of the current deadline of January 25 (after the two already granted) and that, for Therefore, those who did not obtain the go-ahead before that date would lose their connection and access rights to the network that Red Eléctrica de España (REE) has to grant them. Even so, there are autonomous communities that continue to be excessively slow in this process, which puts the deployment of these plants at risk. If these resolutions are not speeded up even more, the risk is also enormous from a legal point of view: many of the promoters to whom the slowness of an Administration with scarce resources to resolve the files continues without giving an answer, threaten to litigate when the deadline expires. term. This would further delay the process, when what is needed is maximum agility in starting up renewable plants.

The climate crisis requires a clear and determined commitment to clean energy. The long-awaited European strategic autonomy cannot be a reality without the Twenty-seven freeing themselves from the heavy weight of their energy dependence, especially when it comes to gas, oil and coal. It would not only be good news from an environmental point of view, but also from an economic point of view: the importation of fossil fuels is the greatest burden for the current deficit in the Community trade balance.

For the ecological transition, with renewables as one of its axes, to be successful, it is essential to simplify and streamline procedures with the active commitment of all administrations, both the ministry and the communities, and the rest of the agents involved. All this must be done, moreover, without undermining the guarantees of environmental protection. It would be a contradiction if, in order to expedite the deployment of renewables, environmental requirements were lowered, a door that opens, however, the EU Regulation of December that sets a framework to accelerate this deployment. For the transition to be massive and fast, it must be carried out with agreements with the affected territories, involving them in the project, its benefits and co-benefits from the outset. This happens, and is another of the key elements, for companies to articulate negotiation processes and agreements with those territories, maximize their transparency policies and denounce any bad practice that could compromise the prestige of the sector.

Finally, it should not be forgotten that, together with the deployment of these wind power facilities —which in recent times has slowed down despite being more important than ever— and photovoltaic, it is essential to promote self-consumption infrastructures, among them, and due to its special relevance, energy communities. The latest modifications of the Government through Royal Decree 244/2019 that allows the radius of shared self-consumption to be extended from 500 meters to two kilometers, as other countries do, is a step in that direction, although a rapid and ambitious transposition of the community directives aimed at accelerating those same energy communities.

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