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EU wind farm consent times

On average, it takes 42 months to get building consent for a wind farm in the EU, according to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).

Italy, Belgium and the UK are among the quickest countries and Spain and Portugal among the slowest for giving wind farm building consent, according to the EU-funded Wind Barriers project, coordinated by EWEA.

Onshore wind times

The time needed for onshore wind farm planning applications ranges across the EU from less than 10 months to well over 50.

The reasons for this vary, but include the high number of authorities to liaise with, and the lack of clear administrative guidelines for wind farm developers.

Top of the table is Finland, with just over 8 months to get permission to build a wind farm, followed by Austria (10 months), Romania (15 months), and Italy (18 months)

The slowest country is Portugal, where over 58 months are needed on average to get permits. Also at the bottom of the list are: Spain (57 months), Greece (50 months) and Poland (43 months).

Number of bureaucratic hoops

The Wind Barriers project also investigated the number of authorities that need to be contacted in each country in order to obtain permission to build onshore wind.

Denmark has the fewest authorities to contact, just five, whereas Greece has the most authorities to contact, with 41.

There is not a direct correlation between the length of time it takes to get permission and the number of authorities that need to be contacted, however.

Spain, for example, is one of the countries with the least number authorities that need to be contacted (only 9), but is one of the slowest, taking an average of over 57 months to get permission to build a wind farm.

“If Europe is serious about reaching 20% renewables by 2020 some member states need to streamline their consent procedures for wind farms,” Justin Wilkes, EWEA Policy Director, said.

“There are a number of actions all Member States could take: creating a one stop shop approach for contacting the different authorities, writing clear guidelines for developers, and introducing better and streamlined spatial planning procedures. Implementation of the Renewable Energy Directive provides a real opportunity for targeted action in certain EU countries,” he said.

Offshore – an easier process

The experience in the offshore wind sector is, so far, more positive, the EWEA says. The average time to get the green light is 18 months, much lower than onshore.

“A number of countries with offshore wind farms have developed an efficient decision making process for this sector, thereby reducing the complexity for offshore wind developers,” concluded Wilkes.

The full Wind Barriers report with all data on administrative and grid connection procedures in developing wind farms will be released in July 2010.

League table

 

 Average building consent time ( months)

 Average number of authorities (direct and indirect contacts)

     

Finland

8.25

33.75

Austria

10

30

Romania

15.26

13.1

Italy

18.06

15.57

Belgium

20.33

14.36

Bulgaria

23

21.72

Estonia

24.35

25.91

United kingdom

26.87

15.21

Hungary

27.46

32.29

France

29.58

36.28

Lithuania

30

20

Germany

30.12

26.57

Czech Republic

31.56

22.67

Denmark

31.81

5.15

ireland

33.49

14.51

Latvia

36

13

Netherlands

38.85

6.27

Sweden

42.91

24.15

Poland

43.09

20.35

Greece

50.09

41.01

Spain

57.74

9.81

Portugal

58.03

14.19

 

 

 

Onshore EU

42.32

18.16

Offshore EU

18.52

22.8

Based on 200 replies received from developers in 23 EU countries to the Wind Barriers project.

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