Luxembourg to speed up green energy permits
Councils must grant or turn down building permit applications for heat pumps and solar panels within three months under new rules imposed by the EU Commission, Luxembourg's energy ministry said on Monday, in an effort to accelerate the continent's transition to green energy.
The quicker decision making applies to all buildings, the ministry said, except for protected landmarks and national defence installations. Decisions on applications, whether they are granted or refused, must be made public by the local municipalities under the new EU rules Luxembourg adopted.
The new rules for local governments come as a result of the war in Ukraine and aims to speed up the deployment of renewable energy installations, the energy ministry said.
Just under 12% of all energy used in the Grand Duchy in 2021 came from renewable sources, significantly behind the EU average of almost 22%, the bloc's statistics agency said this month. In Sweden, the best-performing country, almost two-thirds of all energy used was renewable, meaning solar, wind, hydro or geothermal power.
The EU annual average dropped for the first time since records began in 2004. The decrease was attributed in part to the impact of the easing of Covid-19 restrictions in 2021, Eurostat said, which led to a resumption of economic activity and a spike in energy consumption.
A lot of work remains to be done if the EU is to meet a 32% target of covering its energy use with renewable sources by 2030, which was first agreed in 2018, the Eurostat report warned. The EU's current trajectory means it is also a long way off reaching the even more ambitious goal of 45% which countries agreed to last year following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Luxembourg has vowed to cut emissions by the end of 2030, one of the most ambitious goals set by any government in the world and 5 percentage points more than the 50% proposal agreed under the Paris climate agreement.
However, despite several government pledges and initiatives, environmental activists and industries have called into question Luxembourg's resolve to stick to its climate goals and reduce emissions.
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