Energy and Utilities

Published Royal Decree-Law 29/2021, of 21 December, adopting urgent measures in the energy field to promote electric mobility, self-consumption and the deployment of renewable energies

Published on 29th Dec 2021

On 21 December 2021, the Government approved, by means of Royal Decree-Law 29/2021, published in the Official State Gazette on 22 December, a series of urgent measures in the energy field, aimed at eliminating regulatory barriers that prevent or hinder the accelerated deployment of electric mobility, self-consumption and innovative renewable energies.

The Royal Decree-Law 29/2021, of 21 December, adopting urgent measures in the energy field to promote electric mobility, self-consumption and the deployment of renewable energies (RD-Law 29/2021), is approved with the intention of enabling the efficient and diligent implementation of the funds of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan (RTRP) and the achievement of the objectives set out in the Strategic Framework for Energy and Climate. In particular, the approval of this regulation is intended to facilitate the application and deployment of the lines of action included in the Strategic Project for the Recovery and Economic Transformation of Renewable Energies, Renewable Hydrogen, and Storage approved on 14 December 2021 by the Council of Ministers. The most relevant measures introduced by RD-Law 29/2021 are detailed below:

Extension for compliance with the administrative milestones established in RD-law 23/2020 for the development of generation projects.

The deadlines set out in RD-Law 23/2020 approving measures in the energy sector and other areas for economic reactivation are extended by an additional nine months period. This extension affects the intermediate milestones relating to obtaining the environmental impact statement and the prior administrative and construction authorisations. Still, it does not imply an extension of the total period of five years for the final milestone of obtaining the administrative operating authorisation. It is also specified that all the deadlines relating to these milestones will be calculated from 25 June 2020.

Possibility to voluntarily waive access and connection permits.

The possibility is introduced for holders of or applicants for access and connection permits granted and/or at least requested prior to the entry into force of this RD-law, to renounce them within a period of one month voluntarily, and the financial guarantees presented will be returned. This renunciation must be carried out within a period of one month from the entry into force of this regulation.

Extension of measures adopted in previous regulations to mitigate the impact of soaring prices in the energy sector.

Taking into account the current situation of wholesale electricity market prices, which are at unusually high levels, and in anticipation that this situation will continue at least in the short term, RD-Law 29/2021 extends some of the tax measures that have been adopted in recent months.

-       The application of a reduced rate of 10 percent of Value Added Tax (VAT) on the components of the electricity bill of consumers with up to 10 kW of contracted power is extended until 30 April 2022, provided that the average monthly wholesale market price of the previous month is higher than 45 €/MWh.

-       The application of the minimum rates required by European legislation in relation to the Special Tax on Electricity (STE) is extended until 30 April 2022.

-       The suspension of the Energy Production Value Tax (EPVT) is extended for the first quarter of 2022, in order to allow producers to offer more competitive prices on the market.

Measures to promote electric mobility.

With the aim of promoting electric mobility and taking into account the objectives established by the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan, a series of measures are established to facilitate the deployment of electric vehicle charging points.

Firstly, Law 27/2015 on Roads (Ley de Carreteras) is amended to facilitate the authorisation of charging points for electric vehicles on land adjacent to roads.

Secondly, the obligations and deadlines for the implementation of electric recharging facilities to be carried out, by virtue of the provisions of Law 7/2021 on climate change and energy transition, by state road concessionaires with contracts in execution as of 22 May 2021 that include fuel supply facilities for vehicles.

In addition, the Electricity Sector Law (ESL) is amended to reduce the administrative burdens that this type of facility has to bear, replacing the need to obtain a licence or prior authorisation for works, installations, operation or activity, environmental or other similar or analogous types with responsible statements. In this regard, licensing or prior authorisation procedures initiated prior to the entry into force of this Royal Decree-Law will be regulated by the previous legislative framework.

Finally, RD-Law 29/2021 incorporates into the legal system new requirements regarding the minimum number of recharging facilities, so that private non-residential buildings and parking lots not attached to buildings will have to install recharging points when they have more than 20 parking spaces before 1 January 2023, in proportion to the total number of spaces they have; these obligations are reinforced for buildings owned by the State Administration.

In the tax scope, amendments are introduced to the Law Regulating Local Treasuries, approved by Royal Legislative Decree 2/2004, so that from the entry into force of this RD-Law 29/2021, municipal ordinances may establish different allowances in relation to the Real Estate Tax, the Tax on Economic Activities and an allowance of up to ninety percent in the tax on constructions, installations and works necessary for the installation of recharging points for electric vehicles.

In the sanctions field, the regulations have been updated to ensure compliance with the measures introduced and, specifically, the ESL has been amended to include in its penalty regime infringements by electricity distribution companies regarding the deadlines for notifying the developers of electricity infrastructure for recharging points the result of the request for the analysis in relation to access and connection to the electricity transmission and distribution grids.

Measures relating to self-consumption.

Coinciding with the approval, on 21 December 2021 by the Council of Ministers, of the Self-consumption Roadmap, RD-Law 29/2021 introduces a series of measures with the aim of favouring and facilitating this generation scheme. Along the same lines, it enables the possibility of collective self-consumption through the grid in those cases in which generation and consumption are connected at a distance of under 500 metres, regardless of whether this connection is made via the low or high voltage grid.

Royal Decree 1183/2020 on access and connection to the electricity transmission and distribution networks is amended, exempting electricity generation facilities of less than 100 kW associated with any form of self-consumption with surpluses from the obligation to present financial guarantees.

Lastly, the ESL is modified by introducing the obligation for electricity distribution companies to maintain an open and available communication channel through which information can be obtained, queries can be dealt with and complaints can be lodged in relation to grid access files for self-consumption installations. In this regard, the penalty regime of the ESL is updated, introducing specific types of penalties linked to non-compliance by electricity distribution companies in connection with these new obligations to attend to queries and non-compliance with the deadlines established by the regulations for this purpose.

Should you wish to know more information about the new regulation contained in the Royal Decree-Law and its possible repercussions, please do not hesitate to contact one of our experts mentioned below or your usual contact at Osborne Clarke.

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* This article is current as of the date of its publication and does not necessarily reflect the present state of the law or relevant regulation.

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