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Best practice in terms of permitting and licensing


Guiding principles, assessment of current practice, and conclusions for licensing and permitting offshore renewable energy structures in an MSP process

Type of practice:
Stage of MSP cycle:
Cross-border / trans-national aspect:
Coherence with other processes:
Key words:

Questions this practice may help answer

  • What are the best practices on permitting and licencing for offshore energy in MSPs?
  • What can be done to improve the permitting and licencing process for offshore energy in my country?

Implementation Context

The Seanergy 2020 project has developed a set of seven criteria to evaluate the different MSP regimes across the 17 EU Member States. These criteria are: 1) policy and legal framework; 2) data and information management; 3) permitting and licensing; 4) consultation 5) sector conflict management; 6) cross-border cooperation; 7) implementation of MSP. Based on these criteria, a series of national reports were commissioned to establish the current status of MSP within each EU Member States. These reports go into detail on the specific arrangements within the different countries and provide details on national legalisation, data management, permitting arrangements, consultation mechanisms, methods for managing sector-conflict and cross-border cooperation. In this practice the findings concerning permitting and licensing will be elaborated.

Aspects / Objectives

What have been best practices in permitting and licensing for MSPs?


A series of national reports were commissioned to establish the current status of MSP within each EU Member States. In these report the focus of permitting and licensing was on the following areas:

  • Permitting for Wind Power in EEZs
  • Offshore Wave and Tidal Power
  • Grid Infrastructure and Connection Permits
  • Progress of Permitting Process

Main Outputs / Results

The report provides a summary of the findings as well as the following policy recommendations:

  • Permitting should be conditional on a full and satisfactory environmental appraisal or EIA;
  • The EIAs should be harmonised to ensure that all of the most significant impacts and considerations of the interactions between offshore installation and operation are adequately taken into account;
  • Properly established maritime zones and EEZs are a prerequisite for the proper planning process as exemplified by the wind farm experience in the Mediterranean;
  • Properly formulated policies with clear commitment towards both Offshore Renewables and MSP need to be promoted since these tend to lead to the development of more streamlined permitting processes;
  • The permitting stage offers the ideal point at which proposers can only be given permits providing they fulfil some essential conditions consistent with a precautionary approach. These include:
    • clearance of a fully evaluated EIA or equivalent;
    • a binding commitment to dismantle infrastructure and cables after the project lifetime being a condition of the permitting;
    • an evaluated emergency action plan.
  • Planning conditions in the Mediterranean outside territorial seas to be clarified;
  • Policies and planning conditions for wave and tide power to be promoted;
  • A more integrated approach between infrastructure permitting and grid connection permitting to be promoted.


The recommendations do can refer to a specific geographical area or institutional context, but are transferable among the EU member states.

Costs / Funding Source

The practice was elaborated under the Seanergy 2020 Project co-financed by Intelligent Energy Europe. Direct costs of its elaboration are unknown.

Responsible Entity

European Wind Energy Association

Contact Person

Dorina Iuga

European Wind Energy Association

Email: (di[at]ewea[dot]org)