Legal Perspectives on Bottom-up Approaches
Edited by Marjan Peeters and Thomas Schomerus
Chapter 2: An EU law perspective on the role of regional authorities in the field of renewable energy
This chapter maps and analyses the specific position of regional authorities in view of EU climate and energy law. It specifically focuses on the role taken by such authorities in the light of the transition towards a society increasingly employing renewable energy. In this chapter, we will use the term “regional authorities” which broadly covers sub-national bodies who either hold a regional or local authority electoral mandate, or are politically accountable to an elected assembly. On-shore wind turbines, biomass installations, hydropower installations and solar panels must always be established in the territory of a regional authority. The part in the transition to renewable energy played by regional authorities will increase, particularly in relation to spatial planning and environmental permits. This increment will occur through the necessary transition from large scale fossil fuel energy generation – for instance large coal-fired power plants – towards smaller scale renewable energy generation – for instance photovoltaic installations on private house roofs. Regional authorities’ legal positions, their institutional structure and their tasks depend largely on the country’s specific constitution, which gives rise to the many different institutional forms of local governance present in EU practice. It is obvious that in order to comply with national renewable energy obligations as imposed by the Renewable Energy Directive 2009/28 (RED) on EU-Member States, adequate local governance regarding the establishment of renewable energy projects is vital.
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