Contrary to popular opinion, recently ratified environmental impact licensing rules remain strict for renewable energy investors despite upper-limit capacity increases for wind and solar energy installations, sector officials have pointed out in comments to energypress.
Last August, the energy ministry increased the upper-limit capacity for Category B wind energy installations from 5 MW to 10 MW and Category B solar energy installations from 2 MW to 10 MW.
Investors behind Category B projects do not need to provide environmental impact studies but must meet predetermined environmental terms and all related terms included in a ministerial decision implemented back in January, 2013.
“It is not true that investors merely submit statements declaring that their projects do not have environmental impact, as has been generally said,” a sector official explained. “Investors must observe specific environmental terms and submit studies and data required by the ministerial decision from 2013,” the official added.
Special Ecological Assessments must be conducted for projects planned for protected Natura areas. Also, bird fauna studies must be included in investment applications for Special Protection Zones.
Furthermore, the ministry has advised licensing authorities to be particularly careful when examining project applications slicing big RES projects into a series of smaller projects as a means of simplifying licensing procedures. Such practices need to be stopped, the ministry has stressed.