EIA Guideline for Renewable Energy Projects
On 16 October 2015, the Minister of Environmental Affairs published the EIA Guideline for Renewable Energy Projects in terms of Section 24J of NEMA. The Guideline has been written to assist project planning, financing, permitting and implementation for developers and regulators in respect of the Independent Power Producers (IPPs) procurement programme. It provides guidance on the environmental management legal framework applicable to renewable energy operations, specifically concentrating solar power plants, wind farms, hydropower stations and photovoltaic power plants and identifies the associated activities that require environmental authorization. The Guideline also identifies all other environmentally-related legislation and licensing requirements relevant to these technologies.
Relevance to EIAs
Regulation 13 of the 2014 EIA Regulations requires that EAPs and specialists must have expertise in conducting environmental impact assessments or undertaking specialist work as required, including knowledge of any guidelines that have relevance to the proposed activity. Further, Regulation 16(3)(c), requires that any report, plan or document submitted as part of an application must take into account any applicable guidelines in respect of the kind of activity which is the subject of the application and indicate how the relevant information has been considered, incorporated and utilised. Regulation 18 requires that a competent authority must have regard for any guideline published in terms of section 24J of NEMA when considering an application.