Decree-Law No. 30-A/2022, of 18 April, was recently published, approving exceptional measures aimed at ensuring the simplification of energy production procedures from renewable sources.

This is an exceptional regime that aims, in short, to simplify/reduce the prior control of procedures for the production of energy from renewable sources, reduce deadlines in licensing procedures, and in this way contribute to the acceleration of renewable energy projects. .

Scope of application

The new regime applies to:

• Electricity production centers for renewable energy sources, storage facilities, production units for self-consumption (UPAC) and respective connection lines to the Public Electricity Grid (RESP);

• Installations for the production of hydrogen by electrolysis from water;

• Electricity transport and distribution infrastructure.

We highlight the following measures:

 Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

• Projects for the installation of electricity production centers for renewable energy sources, storage facilities, UPAC, the respective connection lines to the RESP, as well as projects for the production of hydrogen by electrolysis from water, not located in sensitive areas and below the thresholds in the Environmental Impact Assessment Legal Regime (DL 151-B/2013) are no longer obligatorily subject to prior opinion from the EIA authority, even existing only “when it justifiably considers that there are indications that the project is susceptible to cause significant impacts on the environment.

• Changes or extensions to projects for the production of hydrogen by electrolysis from water are covered by this simplified regime in situations where the change or extension, in itself or together with the existing project, exceeds the thresholds set out in n. 3 of annex ii of the Legal Framework for Environmental Impact Assessment.

• The production of hydrogen by electrolysis from water when integrated into an existing industrial establishment does not constitute a change to the project, unless it implies an increase in the area of ​​the existing establishment.

• The issuance of opinions and authorizations provided for in the sectoral legal regimes applicable to activities and infrastructures included in the scope of application of this new regime will now operate in an integrated manner, in this sense, it is carried out within the scope of the EIA procedure or analysis of environmental incidences when this procedure has been carried out in the execution project phase and the competent entities have participated in it, with the respective intervention being exhausted in that seat.

• The public consultation carried out within the scope of the EIA procedure or the analysis of environmental incidences does not require subsequent publicity, through edicts, provided for in the licensing procedure for the establishment of transmission or distribution lines.

 Deadlines for issuing sectoral opinions

• A period of 10 days after receipt of the request for the competent authorities to issue mandatory opinions provided for in the applicable sectoral legal regimes. Failure to issue an opinion within this period is equivalent to non-opposition to the request.

 Requirements for entry into operation

• The entry into operation of electricity production centers of renewable energy sources, storage facilities and UPACs does not require the prior issuance of an exploration license or an exploration certificate, and may begin after communication by the network operator that they are assembled the conditions of connection and injection of energy into the grid and upon prior notification to the Directorate-General for Energy and Geology (DGEG), which immediately communicates it to the global manager of the National Electricity System and the competent grid operator.

• The producer may request authorization to carry out tests and trials and experimental exploitation, and the DGEG must issue a decision within 10 working days. The request is deemed to have been tacitly granted in the absence of pronouncement within that period.

• The exploration license or the exploration certificate must be requested within three years after the above-mentioned communication from the operator, and the DGEG may waive the need for a prior inspection.

 Technical rules

• The diploma establishes several technical rules that must be observed in the installation of electrical production centers of renewable energy sources and production units for self-consumption, such as:

(i) The modeling of the land guarantees the infiltration and surface runoff of water through the hydrographic network;

(ii) The preservation of the living soil resource with the appropriate natural covering, namely through the planting or promotion of spontaneous natural vegetation, throughout the intervention area;

(iii) Minimum distance of 1 km around rural areas and urban land, except in cases where urban land is intended for the installation of economic activity.

 Local community involvement project

• The prior control procedure for the installation of power plants for renewable energy sources and UPACs with an installed capacity equal to or greater than 20 MW or, in the case of a primary wind power plant with at least 10 towers, is instructed with a proposal for projects involving local communities.

• The local community involvement project may include, among others, measures that promote:

(i) The compatibility and use of the space at the power generation center or UPAC for the resident population to use traditional activities such as sheep and chicken grazing, beekeeping, the provision of areas for planting indigenous species with economic value or community gardens;

(ii) Generating local employment, especially during the operation and maintenance of the power plant using the local population;

(iii) Promotion of biodiversity with the involvement of associations and the local population, as well as schools located in the vicinity of the power plant or UPAC;

(iv) Availability of electricity produced by the plant or UPAC surpluses to energy communities or local industries, creating factors of local competitiveness;

(v) Grant the option of co-investment in the power plant to the local population.

 Integrated pollution prevention and control

The production of hydrogen by electrolysis from water, using electricity from renewable energy sources, is not subject to the IPPC.

 Wind power plants

Wind power plants can inject energy into the RESP above the assigned connection power.

 Incorporation of biomethane and hydrogen by electrolysis from water

During the term of this regime, gas suppliers, whose supply exceeds 2000 GWh per year, are obliged to incorporate in their supply a percentage of not less than 1% of biomethane or hydrogen by electrolysis from water in volume of natural gas supplied. . Compliance with this obligation is verified by canceling the respective guarantee of origin.

 Entry into Force

This diploma came into force on April 19 and is valid for a period of 2 years.

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