TNC welcomes EU's European Wind Power Action Plan; it notes wind power can be produced in harmony with nature and communities, especially when smart mapping tools are used to identify low-conflict areas for faster permitting

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October 24, 2023 (press release) –


The European Commission published its European Wind Power Action Plan, presenting policy measures to support the European wind sector to reach the EU’s climate and decarbonisation targets. The Action Plan was announced by President von der Leyen last month during the State of the Union address and contains several new initiatives as well as actions that will help support the implementation of the recently adopted Renewable Energy Directive (RED). 

Among the actions put forward to accelerate permitting for renewable energy projects, the Commission will issue guidance to the EU Member States on the designation of ‘Renewable Acceleration Areas’. These areas, introduced by the new RED, are areas where permitting can be fast-tracked by using advanced spatial mapping to identify the most suitable zones where deployment is not expected to have significant environmental impacts. Member States have 27 months from the entry into force of the RED to designate these areas. 

Noor Yafai, Europe Director Global Policy and Institutional Partnerships at The Nature Conservancy, said: ‘We will never meet climate targets without the full power and potential of Europe’s wind energy sector. Today’s announcement is a much-needed boost for European strategic autonomy as well as our region’s climate leadership. At The Nature Conservancy, we know wind power can be produced in harmony with nature and communities, especially when smart mapping tools are used to identify low-conflict areas for faster permitting. It is, therefore, great news today that the Commission will come forward with new EU-wide guidance for Member States for the designation of ‘Renewables Acceleration Areas’ under the Renewable Energy Directive, which will help to ensure this policy works better in practice.’ 

Rebecca Humphries, The Nature Conservancy’s Head of Climate Policy in Europe, emphasized the significance of providing more comprehensive guidance regarding the establishment of Renewable Acceleration Areas: ‘If implemented credibly, Renewables Acceleration Areas have the potential to significantly accelerate the deployment of renewables to meet the 2030 goals, while also delivering for nature and communities.  With further guidance on the designation of Renewable Acceleration Areas, we can foster a more efficient, transparent, and coherent process for smart siting of renewables across Europe. It has the potential to create trust and confidence among various stakeholders, assuring them that the selection criteria are robust, consistent, science-driven, and relevant to accelerate renewable energy development .’    

The Nature Conservancy provides policymakers with leading principles, practical guidance, innovative tools and scientific local knowledge to site renewables right. EU-wide principles for renewable development can help achieve both RePowerEU goals and biodiversity targets.  

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