COP27: Global task force formed to speed up renewables permitting

Global industry groups representing wind and other clean energy technologies have formed a task force to accelerate permitting for renewables and green hydrogen at the COP27 climate conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

An aeroplane flies over the Sharm el-Sheikh International Convention Centre, in Egypt's Red Sea resort city of the same name, during the COP27 climate conference (pic credit: Fayez Nureldine/Getty Images)

The newly formed Planning for Climate Commission intends to agree a set of recommendations for strengthening permitting and approval processes for renewable energy projects by mid-2023, and then present their findings to the UN General Assembly in September 2023.

A massive deployment of renewable energy and green hydrogen will be needed to combat climate change, with the International Energy Agency recently calling for a tripling of renewables capacity by 2030 and an eight-fold increase by 2050 to limit global warming to 1.5C.

Permitting approvals is one of the key obstacles holding back such levels of deployment, the new group – consisting of the Green Hydrogen Organisation, International Hydropower Association, the Global Wind Energy Council, the Global Solar Council, and the Long Duration Energy Storage Council – explained.

In many countries and jurisdictions, it takes too long to secure permitting approval in many countries and jurisdictions, the Commission added.

To roll out enough clean energy capacity to combat climate change, the world needs a new, innovative and efficient approach to permitting and approvals that ensures both speed and buy-in from communities, the group stated.

Meanwhile in June, UN general secretary Antonio Guterres said it was necessary to “reform the bureaucracies and red tape that hold up gigawatts of renewables projects”, and called for fast-tracked permitting approvals of wind and solar projects and modernising electricity grids.

Announcing the launch of the new group, GWEC CEO Ben Backwell said that current permitting processes often present long delays and hurdles for the clean energy industry, and added: “Planning reform must be at the top of the agenda for any nation or region looking to achieve its climate and energy security targets.

“The enormous deployment of renewable energy is the critical element of delivering the energy transition and creating more secure energy systems, and speeding up the planning process for renewables projects is central to realising this deployment.” 

Last week, the European Commission proposed emergency measures to simplify and accelerate permitting of renewable energy projects in a bid to boost energy independence from Russia.