Administrative and network barriers continue to hinder development of wind energy and other renewable energies across the European Union. Specifically, permitting and grid connection procedures are seen as too complex and, above all, too lengthy, according to the results of a recent survey of stakeholders across 21 EU countries. The survey, conducted by the German Fraunhofer Institute for the EU Commission, attracted 52 responses. It found that on average across the EU, 9.5 authorities have to be consulted on projects, although respondents from the UK said the figure was more like 12 statutory and up to 20 non-statuary organisations. "According to some stakeholders, grid connection standards are adapted to requirements of large conventional power plants and disregard the characteristics of wind and renewables with their smaller plant size and intermittency of power output," says the Fraunhofer Institute report. It concludes that "a general impression" is that administrative barriers are not predominantly related to EU legislation but to practical problems and national or even local legislations. The report recommends streamlining and simplifying complex procedures and shortening the time for obtaining licences "by, for example, setting maximum duration for responses." In addition, internet-based permit procedures should be introduced and "authorities should be penalised if there are delays," it says.
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Senior Renewable Energy Analyst (WindGEMINI Product Lead) DNV GL Bristol (City Centre), City of Bristol