Saeima supports simplified procedure for construction of energy supply structures

(29.09.2022.)

On Thursday, 29 September, the Saeima supported in the final reading a new law, considered urgent, that aims to simplify the procedure for the construction of energy supply structures, including wind power plants. The law was developed to promote the production of renewable energy and energy security and independence.

The law stipulates a simplified procedure for the construction of wind power plants with a total capacity of at least 50 megawatts, along with the required infrastructure, as well as installation of the external utility networks and the construction of related structures required for the functioning of solar panels (installations) if the total capacity per one single object is at least 10 megawatts.

A simplified procedure also applies to construction required for the installation or replacement of thermal energy generators that are expected to produce energy from renewable energy sources and have the capacity of at least five megawatts if they are intended to feed thermal energy to the centralised heating system. The simplified procedure also applies to the building of structures used for energy supply, namely, a liquefied natural gas terminal and the required infrastructure, in internal sea waters and the territorial sea.

The construction of wind power plants is allowed outside towns and villages on industrial land, technical construction or farming area, as defined by the territorial plan of the local municipality. A distance of at least 800 metres must be ensured between residential and public buildings and the nearest border of the wind power plant and wind farm. Building rights for the construction of wind power plants on forest land may be granted for a period not exceeding 35 years. The Law stipulates that the construction of wind power plants with a capacity exceeding 50 megawatts may qualify for the status of a structure of national interest.

Until now, the applicant was required to submit a request for environmental impact assessment of the planned activity in order to construct a wind power plant with capacity exceeding 50 megawatts. The Law stipulates that from now on, an initial assessment procedure shall be applied to wind power plants that are intended to be built in the vicinity of special areas of conservation, “Natura 2000” areas, and the surrounding two-kilometre buffer areas of these territories, as well as the micro-reserves established for the conservation of protected bird species. The initial assessment procedure shall also be applied to wind power plants intended to be built in the vicinity of the coastal dunes of the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Riga, the protective zones around surface waters and cultural monuments, as well as biotopes of special conservation and habitats of particularly endangered species registered in the “Ozols” nature data management system of the State Environmental Service of Latvia.

Along with the Law on simplified procedure for the construction of energy supply structures required to promote energy security and independence, the Saeima also supported in the final reading relevant amendments to the Law on Environmental Impact Assessment.

The laws will enter into force on the day following their promulgation.

Saeima Press Service

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