Implant a wind turbine: excess of administration

Implant a wind turbine is a real challenge in France; indeed the administrative procedures are very long. To implant a wind turbine, the project developer must respect two laws: environmental law and planning law, not to mention all the other administrative authorizations needed.

The wind turbine converts the wind power to electricity. It has a mast, a turbine and a rotor. The blades capture the kinetic energy. It is a new renewable energy:

–          Renewable : the wind is an inexhaustible element

–          New: Today it is rediscovered.

Firstly the wind turbine is an ICPE (Installations Classified for the Protection of the Environment). It is a law of July 19th 1976. It is an installation which presents dangers for the health, the security and the environment. ICPE is submitted to environmental law.

The wind turbine is subject to strict control by theninspection of classified installations. A wind turbine is a classified installation because it has a technical dangerousness and technical risk. (Drop blade).A wind turbine is unsightly to nature and the landscape.

There are two regimes relevant to classified installations

–          Declaration regime : for a wind turbine with a height between 12 and 50 meters and with a power of 20MW

–          Authorization regime: It is a procedure much heavier. It concerns the wind turbine  with a power greater than 20MW and a height taller than 50 meters

Then the installation of a wind turbine must respect the planning law that is to say, it must be subject to a building permission. The wind turbine must obtain a building permission if its height is greater than 12 meters. Instruction time is a 3 month delay with a public enquiry (power greater than 2.5 MW). There is a Consultation of DDE or Commission departmental of sites by the prefect. It must respect the POS (plan land use) or PLU (local plan). If its height requires it (12m), it must establish:

–          A public inquiry: Law of July, the 2nd 2003, it is in environmental code. It Informs citizens of wind energy project and get their opinion back. The duration is 2 month

–          An impact study for the wind turbine more powerful than 2.5 MW. It comprises: the initial state of the site, the consequences for the environment, the measures to reduce these consequences and an abstract which give the impact of the wind energy project. There is an approach prior to pre-diagnosis too

–          The various administrative authorizations as the authorization of clearing, aviation services, authorization obligation to buy, or a license to occupy the public domain if it is an offshore wind turbine.

In addition to all these constraints the person who wants to establish a wind turbine must conclude a contract with the person who granted him the land where he can build its wind turbine (or wind farm). During treatment procedures and environmental planning, the person must formulate a lease agreement with the other party  after the accomplishment of all the above procedures. We are still before the contract.

The person may enter two types of contract:

–          The leasehold contract

It is a contract of property rights (more gages. The time of contract is 18 to 90 years. The lessee has no obligation to hand the contract. It can be terminated if the lessee doesn’t pay its lease.

–          A construction contract :

The lessee has some obligations, unlike in the case of a leasehold contract. The lessor obtains the property of the constructions after the end of the contract.

New constraints can appear, such as the ZDE (area of wind energy development). Since the  law of 2005 all new wind turbines must be within a ZDE. There is therefore the turbines before 2005 and ZDE. In French: ZDE

The implementation is necessarily long term because of the number of constraints. In addition to that, ICPE as a turbine is subjected to regular checks, which require the person who is responsible of the installation, to comply with any rules or threshold (noise) permanently.

With the Law of July 14th 2005, the wind energy project must be in the ZDE. There is no public enquiry and no impact study. The ZDE is created by collectivities. The prefect must control compatibility with the nature and the environment. It has to take into account:

–          The scope

–          The procedure

–          The obligatory consultations

–          The obligation to purchase

The governments have tried to simplify administration procedures to implant a wind turbine but it remains a quite complexe procedure. However, progress has been remarked. The public inquiry and the impact study are under environmental law only, and not in planning law. Finally, the new government since 2012 intends to remove the ZDE and simplify the procedures. Hopefully this simplification will be a progress.




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