Spain to fast-track solar PV permits in bid to tackle energy crisis

On Tuesday, the Spanish government approved a series of measures to combat the volatility of electricity prices. Image: Naturgy.

Spain is to fast-track solar PV projects with generation capacities of up to 150MW as part of a suite of measures the country has enacted to help ease an energy crisis affecting the country.

The Spanish Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITECO) approved on Tuesday (29 March 2022) a series of measures affecting the energy industry within the country’s national planning framework and in response to the economical and social consequences of the war in Ukraine.

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During its latest council of ministers meeting, the Spanish government committed to fast-track the planning process of projects up to 150MW in size until the end of 2024. The measures will only apply to projects adjudged to have a low or medium impact on the surrounding environment, and any projects located in the ‘Red Natura 2000’ zone – a network of protected areas mandated by the European Union – will not be eligible.

The government also announced plans to free up around 10% of the country’s grid capacity to allow for up to 7GW of distributed energy generation to connect between 2023 and 2025. Distribution network operators in Spain will also be mandated to dedicate some 10% of investments into their networks for small-scale renewables projects.

The measure comes in the same week that Portugal’s government revealed to PV Tech plans to waive environmental impact assessments for solar projects up to 50MW in size, as efforts grow across the continent to remove the planning burden on renewables.

Further measures include an extension of a cap on excessive profits by energy companies until 30 June, with the measure also now set to affect long-term power purchase agreements with a price higher than €67/MWh (US$74/MWh).  

The Spanish and Portuguese governments have also submitted new proposals to the European Commission which could see a limit placed on the price of gas of €30/MWh. The cap would be temporary, lasting until the end of this year, and would be designed to protect consumers from further pricing volatility.

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