RES investors committing unauthorized land for projects

Electricity generation licensing regulations from 2010 and 2011 for RES and combined cooling, heat and power (CCHP) projects permitting prospective investors to submit license applications to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, without providing property titles or land lease agreements has led to major confusion.

Caught completely unaware, hundreds of land owners have seen property of theirs committed to such projects, especially solar energy farms, by investors. Worse still, in some cases, two investors are contesting the rights to property that belongs to neither.

Complaints made by property owners have brought this absurd situation to the surface. The most recent round of applications submitted to RAE was held last December. Hundreds of cases have been reported and confirmed by RAE.

However, RAE does not have the right to react as, according to the rules, the authority cannot accept complaints by property owners if a 15-day period has elapsed since the publication of licenses by the authority.

Unsuspecting land owners who cannot imagine their property being committed to RES and CCHP projects by investors typically do not monitor RAE announcements, while many are even unaware of the authority’s existence.

Proof of property rights is not needed by investors until they reach the stage of applying for project installation permits. Property owners can file legal cases against investors at this stage or reach compromise deals with project investors.

Some property owners who belatedly realize their land is being committed to projects claim investors cite the rules from 2010 and 2011 when ordered to abandon their plans.

The threat of expropriation is a major concern for property owners as RES projects are classified as projects of public interest. Though expropriation initiatives have yet to be taken, investors know this is an option at their disposal.