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Switzerland wants to speed up approval procedures for photovoltaic systems

Views: 0     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2023-06-24      Origin: Site

The Federal Council has passed an accelerated decree to amend the Energy Act, which provides for a concentrated planning approval process. In addition, the right of appeal against photovoltaic and wind power plants of national interest is to be restricted.

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The Swiss Federal Council wants to accelerate the planning and construction of photovoltaic, wind power and hydroelectric power plants. An acceleration decree was passed for the attention of Parliament on Wednesday as an amendment to the Energy Act. Among other things, this stipulates that approval procedures and appeal procedures for large systems should be streamlined and the planning process for the expansion of the electricity grid should be simplified. This should enable a more rapid expansion of photovoltaics, wind power and hydropower. “However, the planning, approval and appeal procedures that apply today can severely delay projects. More than 20 years can elapse between the start of project planning and implementation,” the Federal Council in Bern continued.

The changes in the Energy Act provided for in the Acceleration Decree include, among other things, that photovoltaic and wind power plants of national interest in the cantons receive “a concentrated planning approval procedure”. The location canton is now to issue all cantonal and previously municipal permits that are necessary for the construction, expansion or renewal of such systems in one go, as the Federal Council further announced. This should prevent projects from being divided into several stages and each individual decision being challenged up to the Federal Supreme Court. The concerted procedures should be completed within 180 days. The cantonal government or a cantonal agency designated by it should act as the approval authority.

The cantons should also identify suitable areas for photovoltaic and wind energy systems in the structure plan. When determining these areas, however, the cantons would have to take into account the protection of the landscape, biotopes, forest, cultivated land and crop rotation areas. The decree is also intended to shorten the legal process for the planning and construction of photovoltaic, wind power and hydroelectric power plants. At the cantonal level, only one appeal to the higher cantonal court would be possible in the future, which must be decided within 180 days. At the same time, local and cantonal organizations should no longer be able to lodge complaints against such projects, as the Federal Council explains. However, this could continue to be done by cantons and communes as well as organizations active throughout Switzerland.

The decree is also intended to simplify the expansion of the power grid. In the future, the planning corridor for this should be determined directly, within which the specific line routing will then be determine


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