Spanish Wind Industry Calls for Faster Permitting to Reach EU Targets

The Spanish Wind Energy Association (AEE) has called for faster permitting processes for onshore and offshore wind projects in Spain, in light of the latest plan under the REPowerEU strategy to increase the renewable energy target from 40 to 45 per cent by 2030 and WindEurope’s warning that greater buildout of (offshore) wind farms could only be delivered with a viable supply chain and simplified permitting.

Illustration; Image source: Esteyco

Following the announcement of the Esbjerg Declaration goals of 65 GW of offshore wind by 2030 and 150 GW by 2050, and EU’s REPowerEU targets, WindEurope’s CEO Giles Dickson said the new commitments on wind would only be delivered if Europe had a viable wind energy supply chain and if it simplified the permitting of wind farms. “Good things are now happening on the latter. But the former needs major attention: Europe’s five turbine manufacturers are all operating at a loss today”.

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The REPowerEU Action Plan sets the EU on a path from the current 190 GW to 480 GW of wind energy capacity in just eight years, of which 24 GW need to be installed in Spain, according to the AEE.

“Achieving the installation target of 24 GW in Spain, necessary to meet the new 45% target, will only be possible if the processing of permits is simplified and accelerated. The administrations have to speed up the processes as much as possible, since the fulfillment of the climate objectives, the economic recovery and the energy security of our country depend on it. We cannot afford to waste a single wind project that can be put into operation in the next 2 years, always complying with the premises of minimum environmental impact”, said Juan Virgilio Márquez, General Director of AEE.

To meet the new target, Spain has to install not only 21 GW of onshore wind to comply with the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan (PNIEC), but also the 3 GW of offshore wind in accordance with the Offshore Wind Roadmap approved in December 2021, the Spanish wind energy association said.

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The AEE called for several actions to speed up wind energy buildout in the country, the first being considerably increasing the pace of processing this year, mainly in the environmental process, to obtain annual approvals for 2.2 GW under the national plan, compared to the 1.5 GW processed in 2021.

To meet the 2030 objectives, Spain would need to approve 3.2 GW of wind energy projects per year between 2022 and 2028, according to the AEE.

The AEE pointed out that each new wind turbine installed in Spain represents an important socio-economic and environmental contribution. This includes EUR 5 million worth of technology manufacturing by the Spanish and European wind industry, maintaining employment in the factories, reducing gas imports by EUR 2.4 million each year, and avoiding 5,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions. 

Currently, the Spanish industry has a manufacturing capacity of 4 GW per year, which requires, for its future permanence in our country, a stable annual market of 2.2 GW that is complemented by the export market”, said Juan Virgilio Márquez.

“The 5 manufacturers of wind turbines in Europe, with many of their factories in Spain, are suffering tensions derived, in addition to the global situation of scarcity of raw materials and logistical surcharges and delays in the supply of parts, due to the lack of pace widespread in the processing of wind projects. It is necessary to accelerate the processing processes to achieve the renewable objectives and not face scenarios in which dependence on an external energy resource is replaced by external dependence on a technology in which we are now at the forefront”.

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