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Open for comment: battery storage facilities to be exempt from requiring environmental authorisation

14 April 2023

On 14 April 2023, the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment published her intention to exclude certain activities associated with the development and expansion of battery storage facilities from the requirement to obtain an environmental authorisation based on the battery storage exclusion norm.

The notice of intention to exclude the battery storage activities is available here.

The public is encouraged to submit comments. Written submissions are due before 14 May 2023.

According to the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment’s media statement on the notice, the exclusion will apply when the facilities are developed in areas confirmed to be of “low” or “medium” environmental sensitivity and will be subject to a site sensitivity verification, compliance to a site-specific environmental management programme and a registration process.

This is in line with the sector’s ongoing efforts to simplify the environmental legislative impact assessment framework for energy projects whilst ensuring that environmental protection is not compromised.

The intention of the proposed exclusions is aimed at improving the efficiency of the environmental assessment process. In addition, these exclusions intend to simplify the deployment of solar PV and battery storage facilities, to expedite the generation of electricity from renewable energy resources, facilitate the distribution of this generation capacity and contribute to addressing the existing electricity shortages currently being experienced by the country.

Read the DFFE’s media statement at https://www.dffe.gov.za/mediarelease/creecy_solarphotovoltaicbattery_EAexclusion