Revised Offshore Installations Ordinance (SeeAnlV) Enters Into Force

The revised Offshore Installations Ordinance (Seeanlagenverordnung – SeeAnlV) entered into force today after having been promulgated yesterday. The revision shall speed up permitting procedures, in particular for offshore wind farms.

The revised version of the SeeAnlV was promulgated yesterday. Minister Peter Ramsauer (Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development – BMVBS) pointed out that the new SeeAnlV helps to accelerate the construction of wind farms and the transmission of the electricity to consumers onshore. According to the revised permitting scheme, a single plan determination decision (Planfeststellungsbeschluss), in which all the relevant aspects of the project shall be considered, will be needed.

Curiously, the ministry’s press release stated that the revision entered into force yesterday (30 January 2012), while Art. 3 of the amending ordinance clearly provides for entry into force on the day after promulgation, i.e. today.

In the past a technically different permitting regime applied. Legal procedures involving different public bodies had to be carried out. In the future, a time schedule and project plan (Zeit- und Maßnahmenplan; pursuant to  Section 4 para. 1 sent. 1 SeeAnlV) shall structure the whole procedure until the commissioning of the wind farm. Besides, the competent plan determination authority, the  Federal Agency for Maritime Shipping and Hydrography (BSH), shall be entitled to accelerate the process by setting deadlines.

The amended SeeAnlV also gives BMVBS, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) the right to determine criteria for the order in which applications are processed (Section 4 para. 4 sent. 1 SeeAnlV).

There are some doubts as to whether or to what extent really the previous permitting regime was to blame for delays. In any event, it will be very interesting to see how (and how quickly) the new scheme will work, and what the new criteria – for which very little specifications are given in SeeAnlV – will look like.

Sources: Federal Law Gazette (Bundesgesetzblatt) I of 30 January 2012, page 112, Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development (BMVBS)

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