The permitting of projects remains a “major issue” that is slowing down the pace at which wind and solar projects can be built in Europe, but technology could enable some processes to take seconds, rather than months, according to the chief executive of Portuguese developer EDP Renewables.

Rui Teixeira told WindTV at the WindEnergy Hamburg digital event that project permitting “has become one of the major issues for renewable energy in Europe and I think this hasn’t improved lately”.

“The [European Commission’s] Renewable Energy Directive asked the member states to shorten, to simplify the permitting rules and procedures – they still remain too complex,” he said.

“So if this is already a problem, as of today, as we go forward, and as we increase the ambition, it’s just going to become an even greater bottleneck.”

He added that permitting procedures need to be streamlined at the local, regional and country levels, and also among grid operators.

“I think here, also technology does play a role, because the more the countries or the regions can modernise themselves, [modernise] their processes, introduce technology into that, as well as the grid operators, because I think that many times we just wait and wait for grid impact studies [… the faster permitting will be].

“We are getting to an age of quantum computing – I think it’s just obvious to me that there has to be investment in technology to make sure that many of these assessments can be run in minutes, if not seconds, rather than over months. So definitely this is one of the hurdles we need to overcome.”