Main changes introduced by Decree-Law 14/2020 of 7 August on measures to accelerate the implementation of facilities for the use of renewable energies in the Valencian autonomous region

Written on 29 Sep 2020

On 29 August 2020, Decree-Law 14/2020 of 7 August entered into force, introducing measures to promote renewable energies in the Valencian autonomous region. This regulation contains relevant developments in the administrative processing of projects for photovoltaic installations and wind farms that seek, in general, to reduce the bureaucratic burden and facilitate their implementation.

The most relevant aspects introduced by Decree-Law 14/2020 of 7 ("DL 14/2020"), applicable to photovoltaic plant and wind energy facility projects whose authorisation corresponds to the Generalitat Valenciana, are detailed below.

Investments of strategic interest for the Valencian autonomous region

By means of DL 14/2020, the projects of photovoltaic plants and wind power facilities are declared "investments of strategic interest", which are under the jurisdiction of the Generalitat which will have a preferential treatment in terms of their implementation and start up. Within these, priority will be given to projects that are granted the specific remuneration scheme or additional, substitute or alternative remuneration schemes. This declaration will remain in force until the objectives of installed power for this type of facility established at the level of the autonomous region of Valencia are reached.

Simplifying and speeding up the commissioning of electricity grids and renewable energy production facilities

DL 14/2020 modifies several sector regulations in order to simplify and speed up the commissioning of both electrical grids and renewable production facilities.

From an environmental point of view, it is worth highlighting the removal of the obligation to obtain an environmental licence for all wind farms. Therefore it will be necessary to prove compliance with the environmental requirements set out in Law 6/2014 of 25 July, of the Generalidad, on the prevention, quality and environmental control of activities in the Valencian autonomous region through simpler instruments.

From a sectoral perspective, certain aspects of the administrative processing of electrical installations have been modified. This is to largely to adapt it to basic state regulations and the latest legislative developments approved at national level (for example, the same concept of "non-substantial modification" is used), and some particularities are introduced, for example:

  • It specifies which installations (e.g. for self-consumption without surplus, or isolated generation installations) will be totally excluded from the administrative authorisation regime; or which will only need an operating permit (mainly small-scale production installations).
  • It limits the transmission of electrical installations before they have come into operation.

Modification of the rules of the Wind Energy Plan of the Valencian autonomous region

DL 14/2020 modifies certain rules of the Wind Plan, highlighting the incorporation of a new regulation that facilitates the incorporation of energy storage systems and photovoltaic plants hybridized with existing wind farms.

Legal framework and authorisation procedure for photovoltaic plants and wind farms

In addition, DL 14/2020 introduces issues relating to administrative proceedings:

  • Criteria for the location and implementation of the facilities:

DL 14/2020 takes into account environmental, territorial and energy criteria for the location and implementation of photovoltaic plants. In general, it considers the occupation of urbanised land to be preferable to land in a rural situation and the occupation of sites compatible with territorial and urban planning that meet the "ideal conditions" from the energy, environmental, territorial and landscape point of view, as well as the protection of cultural, historical and archaeological heritage.

In this sense, specific criteria are established for the implementation of facilities in areas subject to environmental protection (e.g. SPAs), as well as additional territorial, landscape and energy criteria.

  • Photovoltaic plants on urban and developable land:

DL 14/2020 seeks to promote and facilitate the installation of these photovoltaic plants on urban and developable land through the direct compatibility of the photovoltaic installations without the need for modifications to the current planning.

In addition, the installation of photovoltaic modules on the rooves of new buildings, or those that have changed their use, of more than 1,000 square metres in surface area, whether public or private, has been made obligatory.

Likewise, the declaration of responsibility for the installation of photovoltaic modules in existing private buildings or the licence for provisional use in unprogrammed urban and buildable land has been established as a form of authorisation for energy plants on this type of land (urban and buildable land).

  • Integrated authorisation procedure for photovoltaic plants to be located on undeveloped land and for wind farms:

This procedure is characterised by the fact that it resolves, in a single administrative act, all questions relating to the installation in terms of electricity, environment and territory. In addition, before the procedure begins, and once municipal planning compatibility has been obtained, the developer has the possibility of undertaking a double consultation to check the viability of their proposal and to obtain a roadmap of their project.

Improving and publicising information on electricity distribution grids in the autonomous region of Valencia

In relation to this issue, the following considerations should be highlighted:

  • It establishes the obligation for distribution companies to publicise the content of their annual and three-year investment plans in distribution grids.
  • On their part, the distribution system operators will publish and keep duly updated information on the capacity of the electricity distribution grids located in the autonomous region of Valencia.
  • In addition, the distribution system operators will provide information on access applications and access and connection permits that they grant to the grids they own based in the autonomous region of Valencia for electricity generation, production and self-consumption facilities.

DL 14/2020 entered into force on 29 August 2020. The procedures in progress at the time of entry into force of this regulation will be governed by the previous regulations, without prejudice to the possibility of interested parties submitting a new application.