Red tape crisis jeopardizes European push for renewables, says Aquila Capital


FRANKFURT, April 22 (Reuters) – Aquila Capital, one of Europe’s leading private investors in renewable energy, has warned that a painfully slow permit system for wind and solar projects is stifling investment and threatening the continent’s efforts to reduce its dependence on Russian gas.

“We can and want to invest more. It’s not a question of capital or the will to do so. It’s simply a question of fact that we’re locked in,” said Roman Rosslenbroich, co-founder and CEO of Aquila Capital.

“We’re talking about billions that our industry can’t invest because of this.”

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Aquila Capital manages nearly €14 billion ($15 billion) in assets and has achieved 13 gigawatts (GW) of installed renewable capacity, with an additional 9 GW in development and under construction in Europe.

“We have ambitious expansion goals, but we’re just not making any progress. Permits aren’t coming at all, or just way too late,” Rosslenbroich said. “It’s a disaster because as an investor and developer of projects you can no longer plan.”

Renewables are a big part of Europe’s efforts to achieve energy self-sufficiency and expansion efforts have been intensified to reduce dependence on Russian gas supplies following the invasion of the Ukraine via Moscow.

Getting permits fast enough has been a problem across Europe, especially in its largest economy, Germany, which is aiming for an 80% share of renewables in its energy mix by 2030. Read more

This will require annual onshore wind installations of 9-10 GW per year by 2028, according to a target industry association, BDEW, which cannot be achieved under current legislation.

Rosslenbroich said one way to speed up lengthy processes is to set up a centralized authority to quickly process requests and make quick decisions to ensure project timelines are shortened.

“It just takes too long.”

($1 = 0.9257 euros)

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Reporting by Christoph Steitz. Editing by Jane Merriman

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