WWEA Wind Power Index Indicates Need for Accelerated Wind Farm Expansion

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On the occasion of the UN Climate Change Conference COP26, World Wind Energy Association (WWEA) has published the Wind Power Planning and Permitting Index, which indicates the performance of countries regarding the duration and reliability of planning and permitting processes of wind farms.

Based on a survey amongst its member association, WWEA has concluded that the average duration of planning a wind farm is internationally 62 months, mainly due to lengthy bureaucratic processes, while the average permitting process consumes 29 months. This is in contrast with the fact that technically, wind turbines can be installed in several months only.

There is a quite broad range between the fastest and the slowest countries, and even within some of the countries, a big variety can be observed. While in some countries, the planning process can be completed in three years or less and permissions are issued in less than one year, projects in other countries have taken seven or even ten years or more until they are implemented. In the worst cases, it may take more than five years to obtain a building permit for a wind farm.

“It is extremely important for governments to understand: If they want to accelerate the phase-out of fossil fuels, they must accelerate the expansion rates of renewables and especially of wind power,” says WWEA Secretary General Stefan Gsänger. “The lengthy and bureaucratic approval processes are a major bottleneck in the installation of wind turbines. There must be clear and predictable timeframes for these processes, and social support must be ensured by engaging local communities and by maximizing the socioeconomic benefits for those communities.”

To accelerate wind power planning and permitting processes, WWEA recommends the permitting process should not take longer than 12 months, so that a decision must be made no later than one year after the submission of a wind farm building application. Greater standardization of the approval procedures will help to shorten their duration.

Strengthen social support for wind power by fostering models which maximize the local share of economic and social benefits with local communities, municipalities and citizens. Local involvement in the planning process and local (co-)ownership of wind farms are important instruments to achieve not only high local acceptance, but local support.

Each country should set up a monitoring process which assesses wind power planning and permitting processes on a regular basis and identifies areas of improvement, as far as necessary also on a state/province level in order to identify more specific barriers.

The full paper can be downloaded here.

Image: “Wind Turbine” by lamoix is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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