The government has adopted a government proposal to boost investments in the green transition*. The aim is to reduce Finland’s dependence on fossil fuels, increase its energy autonomy and move towards a more ecologically sustainable economy. The proposal would prioritize permit applications for investment projects important to the green transition in permit procedures under the Environmental Protection Act and the Water Act to agencies. regional administrative offices of the State in 2023-2026**.
“The green transition to renewable and decentralized forms of energy is the only sustainable way out of the energy crisis caused by Russia’s war of aggression and dramatic swings in fossil fuel prices. The fast track that we have now created will ensure that investments can continue without delay. This is important in terms of climate action and energy self-sufficiency,” said the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Maria Ohisalo.
In their permitting procedures, regional state administrative agencies would prioritize certain projects related to renewable energy, low-carbon hydrogen production, electrification of industry, and the use of carbon and the battery industry that follow the principle of no significant harm. The Government considered them as key areas and sectors to promote the green transition and increase the share of clean energy.
“The aim is to get green transition investments off the ground quickly. However, smoother permitting procedures will not mean that we will compromise the environmental impact assessments of projects in any way,” Minister Ohisalo said.
During its budget session last spring, the government pledged to allocate more human resources to speed up and support the processing of authorizations by the authorities and the appeal procedures before the administrative courts.
In addition, the Centers for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment*** will receive €4.1 million and regional state administrative agencies €2.5 million in additional funding over the three next year and a half.
Prioritization in accordance with this legislative proposal would mean faster processing of permit applications by the Regional State Administrative Agency at all stages of the procedure. The Centers for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, meanwhile, would promote green transition projects in environmental impact studies and in their decision and consultation stages.
Any delays required to process any appeals will also be taken into account in the effort to speed up the processing of authorization requests for green transition support projects. This is why the Government proposes that in 2023-2028 appeals related to investments in the green transition be considered urgent by the administrative courts. The same would apply to appeals concerning relevant local detailed plans for energy production or master plans guiding wind construction. Additional funding of 3 million euros will be allocated to the courts to carry out these missions.
The law would come into force at the beginning of 2023. During this autumn, the funds allocated for the preparation and orientation of the performances will be used to ensure that the implementation of the priority procedure by the authorities in charge of the authorizations can be launched as soon as possible.
* Investments in the green transition play a key role in moving towards a carbon-neutral social society. The green transition means moving towards an environmentally sustainable economy and growth that does not rely on the overconsumption of natural resources but relies on low-carbon solutions that promote the circular economy and biodiversity. The overall goal is change where a stronger economy will be achieved through green technologies, sustainable industry and transport, and emission reductions.
** State regional administrative agencies deal with and make decisions on permit issues under the Environmental Protection Act and Water Act.
*** The Centers for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment are responsible for monitoring related to permits under the Environmental Protection Act and the Water Act.
Source: Ministry of the Environment