Renewable Energy: guidance on designating renewable energy acceleration areas

23 februari 2024

The Netherlands Association for Renewable Energy (NVDE) welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the
call for evidence on guidelines for identifying Renewable Energy Acceleration Areas that will be provided
by the Commission as part of the revised Renewable Energy Directive. By giving feedback in this document, we hope to contribute to speed up the designation of renewable energy acceleration areas. In our
view, this is necessary to develop and deploy projects more rapidly in order to be able to achieve the
Commission’s renewable energy targets.

Extended scope of Renewable Acceleration Areas is needed
The European wind power action plan announced that the Commission will launch the Accele-RES initiative. This initiative aims to speed up the transposition and implementation of the revised Renewable Energy Directive and accelerate the deployment of renewable energy projects. Under the Directive, Member States must designate renewables acceleration areas for one or more technologies by 21 February 2026. Renewables Acceleration Areas should be areas particularly suitable for quickly deploying renewable energy plants given that deploying the specific type of renewable energy source is not expected to have a significant environmental impact in these areas. To designate these areas, Member States must prepare a plan or plans for one or more types of renewable energy sources. Under the Renewable Energy Directive, Member States are free to decide for which renewable energy technologies they designate renewable acceleration areas and the size of those areas.

As NVDE, we note that the request for guidance has an angle which is particularly focused on onshore
and offshore wind and solar projects. We believe that it is also important to broaden the scope of renewables acceleration areas with renewable energy sources needed for the provision of sustainable heating
and cooling. Think of geothermal projects, aquathermal projects, bio-energy projects, bio-gas projects
etc.. Member states are free to decide for which technologies they designate acceleration areas, but we
strongly recommend the Commission to give Member States more guidance in taking renewable heat
projects into account in the designation process.

List of specific measures to take into consideration:

  1. Encourage Member States to designate areas where (multiple forms of) supply, storage and demand of renewable energy are collocated.
  2. Emphasize that the establishment of acceleration areas should not lead to no-go areas for renewable energy projects.
  3. Examine within each Member State how political decision-making from the authorities who have to decide on granting permits of energy generation or energy infrastructure projects can be accelerated.
  4. Create an infrastructure (i.e. data safe houses) to help member states to facilitate more efficient sharing of information between industries, grid operators and authorities.
  5. Share best practices with member states to speed up the development of projects and permitting processes within acceleration areas.
  6. Help Member States organizing their Judiciary to speed up appeal procedures related to projects in acceleration areas.
  7. Ensure that efforts to develop acceleration areas, do not impede on capacity that is designated to processing permitting requests or increase bureaucratic procedures.
  8. Investigate to what extent measures can be taken to safeguard against land speculation.

Read and download the whole paper in pdf here.

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