On September 10, 2020, the Government of the Canary Islands approved Decree-Law 15/2020, of September 10, on urgent measures to promote the primary, energy, tourism and territorial sectors of the Canary Islands (“DL15/2020”) , to introduce a series of urgent measures, in order to stop the drop in economic activity that the archipelago has suffered due to the current pandemic situation.
These measures include a series of amendments to (i) Decree 141/2009, of November 10, approving the Regulations governing the administrative procedures relating to the execution and commissioning of facilities electricity in the Canary Islands (“D141/2009”); and to (ii) Decree 6/2015, of January 30, which approves the Regulation that regulates the installation and operation of Wind Farms in the Canary Islands (“D6/2015”). These modifications seek to speed up and simplify the administrative procedures for the start-up of this type of facility, reducing processing times, introducing self-control measures by applicants, exempting the need for an urban planning license in certain cases and simplifying the public information procedures, among other issues.
Thus, Article 2 of DL15/2020 establishes that, for a period of two years, from the entry into force of the regulation, the urgency of processing the procedures for granting the authorizations provided for in D141/2009 is declared and D6/2015, halving the deadlines for these procedures. Article 3 of DL15/2020 requires applicants for authorization under D141/2009 and D6/2015 to include with their application an analysis of the conformity or non-conformity of the installation project with the applicable planning regulations. In the case of renewable installations, the applicant must also expressly request a report from the affected City Council on the conformity of the project with current urban planning. In the event that the corresponding City Council expresses itself favorably, the applicant will be exempt from the urban planning license regulated by Law 4/2017, of July 13, on Land and Protected Natural Areas of the Canary Islands. Article 4 imposes the obligation to process the technical documentation that applicants must provide, during the procedure, in digital format.
For its part, Article 5 exempts the competent Management Center, in certain cases, during the administrative processing of substantial modifications not relevant to authorized facilities, from the need to evacuate the public information process or the environmental impact statement. These measures are expected to help speed up the execution of new electrical installation projects and favor investment in the Canarian energy sector, reducing the administrative burden suffered by energy producers and the administrations in charge of processing the procedures. However, it remains to be seen whether the human and material resources available to the Canary Islands Administrations will be sufficient for these measures to meet the aspirations that motivated their adoption.
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