Legal Perspectives on Bottom-up Approaches
New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Edited by Marjan Peeters and Thomas Schomerus
Chapter 8: One national wind power objective and 290 self-governing municipalities
The chief question in this chapter is whether Sweden will be able to rapidly permit thousands of wind power installations so that the total electricity production from wind resources increases from around 10 TWh in 2013 to 30 TWh in 2020. The target 30 TWh is part of the Swedish wind power policy, adopted by the Parliament in 2009, and also one of the means to fulfil Sweden’s commitment according the EU Renewable Energy Directive. A potential obstacle to achieving this target is the legal power vested in the municipalities in connection with both physical planning (“municipal planning monopoly”) and permitting of big wind power installations (“municipal veto”). This paper analyses the Swedish decision-making procedure for wind power installations and in particular the municipal legal power. The chapter is structured as follows. Section 2 provides a background in which the Swedish development of wind power is put into a political and legal historical context. Section 3 describes the role of Swedish municipalities in general terms. Section 4 explains the decision-making procedure in connection with wind power developments, which was subject to a legal reform in 2009. The question of how legal municipal powers affect decisions on wind power development is scrutinized in greater detail, first in Section 5 as regards physical planning according to the Planning and Building Act, then in Section 6 as regards permitting according to chapter 9 of the Environmental Code. Section 7 explains the authorization of smaller wind power installations according to the Planning and Building Act. Section 8 provides the concluding remarks.
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