Amazon Web Services (AWS) is angling to uncork some 80GW of wind energy projects “stuck” in a permitting bottlenecks in the EU using a digital tool launched today (Wednesday) by Accenture and advocacy body WindEurope.

The cloud computing platform provider, which automate workflows, streamline approvals, and provide process transparency for developers, aims to help clear the way for the European Commission’s ambition to have wind account “for half of Europe’s electricity” by 2050 – up from the 17% currently contributed to the continent’s electricity demand.

“The solution prototype is a single platform [that will deliver] a faster and better outcome for all stakeholders, including the permitting agent, the wind farm developer, as well as the community member,” said AWS.

“This move to clean and renewable energy is critical to decarbonise Europe’s economy but the backlog in wind permitting across Europe could significantly bottleneck the energy transition.”

AWS is calling on industry players to “help further improve” the pilot system, beta testing for the first time, noting “user feedback will refine the solution, so that when deployed, it can accelerate the time-to-value for wind farm developers, municipalities and local communities.

The end-to-end permitting solution, powered by AWS, includes software ranging over AWS S3, Lambda, Amplify, Cognito, Textract, and Lex, and can enable local, regional and national agencies to slash processing time “through digitising and automatically extracting data from documents, allowing permit agents to spend more time on the most valuable jobs”.

The software also promises to hone the accuracy of wind permit applications through automated checklists, workflow triggers and notifications for necessary agency stakeholders, collecting manage and processing all documents in a single repositor.

“Templated workflows and application templates available on the platform can also help developers deliver more consistent project proposals while the public and other authorities will have improved access to useful information such as benefit assessments or environmental and economic impact documentation,” said AWS. “That’s without the requisite stakeholder communication about the application’s progress.”

WindEurope deputy CEO Malgosia Bartosik said: “More wind energy projects are needed to move towards the new EU 2030 42.5% renewables target. The new EU Renewables Directives mandates EU countries to digitalise permitting processes within two years: this is a game-changer.

“Now we need to equip municipalities, city planners and permitting authorities with the digital tools to deliver on this.

“The right tools will make the permitting processes more efficient, save time and money for all stakeholders involved and improve social acceptance, ensuring no one is left behind in Europe’s energy transition. We need rules and tools. Regulation alone will not make it.”

Permitting is a “highly manual” process involving coordination with many authorities at local, regional and national level, with many jurisdiction facing the regulatory hurdle of processing 450-page paper applications, clarifying questions with developers, corralling the correct experts and collating all required cross-departmental input”.

The recently revised EU Renewable Energy Directive spotlight a set of regulations “to pave the way for faster permitting”, but member states need “further, technical support” to get the permits done in two years”, it said.

“The IEA looks forward to seeing the results of the testing phase of this new permitting platform. The municipalities could take advantage of this tool to optimise the permitting process and deliver permits more rapidly and easily,” said Heymi Bahar, senior analyst in the renewable energy markets and policy at the International Energy Agency.

Jakob Hasselgreen, a senior city planning official in the Danish municipality of Vesthimmerlands said: “I can identify with all the pain-points when it comes to the permitting process. It was eye opening to see how existing technology can help with making the process more efficient for everyone: for me, for my colleagues, developer but also community members that I engage with to get them on board for the projects.

“If I can save mine and everyone's time by having the right system to receive, file and dispatch documents, to use templates so that I don’t have to work information for different internal and external purposes. I would be able to do things faster and dedicate time to the most important parts of the permitting process. I can't wait to pilot this in our municipality.”