Over-complex and lengthy permitting procedures are still obstructing the progress of renewable energy sources and threaten the achievement of Europe's renewables targets, claims the European Renewable Energies Federation (EREF). In new site permitting guidelines for renewable energy, EREF makes recommendations for streamlining procedures. The Good Planning Guide for Renewable Energy Installations was produced by EREF's Dorte Fouquet and is aimed primarily at member states' local and regional planning authorities. EREF claims it will also help the European Commission evaluate member states' reports on their own planning procedures as they comply with the EU's renewable energy directive. A key recommendation in the guide is for a "fast track" permitting process specifically for renewable energy projects. Ideally, this should take the form of a "one-stop shop." Regional planning guidance and development plans should promote and encourage renewables, rather than restrict development. Plans should also guide developers to areas where projects would be more likely to be permitted. The guide points to the example of Germany and Greece which have adopted supportive policies that could result in "fast track" planning for renewables. EREF is a federation of renewable energy associations from EU countries. Its priorities include pushing for adoption of a German-style fixed-price payment system for wind power for Europe.
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