In the coming months, the federal government and the state of germany intend to develop a package of measures to accelerate the sluggish expansion of onshore wind power.
The goal is to achieve a “national consensus” as with the nuclear and coal phase-out, said federal economics minister peter altmaier (CDU) after a top-level meeting in berlin. The aim is to make more land available for wind turbines and to speed up the approval process. In addition, the acceptance of wind farms is to be increased.
Lower saxony’s environment minister olaf lies (SPD) said concrete points had to be presented at the next conference of federal and state energy ministers in december. There is no time to lose.
In the first half of the year, the expansion of onshore wind power almost came to a standstill. The main reasons are a lack of flat land, long approval procedures and many lawsuits in the courts. At planned sites, there are many citizen initiatives against wind farms. If the sluggish expansion continues, german climate targets are in jeopardy. Altmaier had invited representatives of the industry, the federal states and citizens’ initiatives to berlin.
The president of the german wind energy association, hermann albers, said that altmaier had promised to present a clear plan for the reduction in the next two to three weeks. A way had been shown how the situation could be improved quickly. The industry is waiting for answers. In the second half of 2020, it must become apparent whether the reductions have had an effect.
Lies said the meeting was just a start. With regard to opponents of wind power, he said the expansion of renewable energies was not a burden but an opportunity. Germany must be an international motor. Species protection is important, but climate protection is also species protection. Many lawsuits against wind farms are justified on the grounds of species protection and nature conservation. Lies also said citizens and municipalities needed to be more involved in wind farms.
Baden-wurttemberg’s environment minister franz untersteller (grune) said it was important to get the expansion of onshore wind power back on track quickly. More flat areas are needed for this. The federal government must provide a framework.
Altmaier said the energy turnaround must be successful – all parties involved had agreed on that. He also referred to the deliberations in the climate cabinet, which intends to launch an overall package for more climate protection in two weeks’ time. With a view to the ailing wind industry and the further threat of job losses, the minister said: “we want this industry to be preserved and to have prospects for the future.”
According to a survey commissioned by IG metall kuste, between 8,000 and 10,000 workers have been lost in the german wind industry since the beginning of last year.000 jobs lost. This is a continuation of the trend seen in 2017, when the industry already had 26.000 jobs saved.
Albers calls for a concrete quantitative framework for the expansion of renewable energies. But exactly what that plan should look like is a matter of political dispute, as are regulations on the distance between wind farms and residential buildings. There are different regulations in the various countries. Bavaria has the toughest targets. No new plants were added there in the first half of the year. The black-red coalition in the federal government had already set up a working group months ago to increase acceptance of the energy turnaround. However, it has not yet been possible to agree on results.
SPD vice faction leader matthias miersch called on the union faction to end its “blockade”: “with distance rules like those in bavaria, we can never achieve the expansion of renewable energies to 65 percent that the federal government has already decided on. Then the achievement of the climate goals would be an illusion.”
Coal, gas and nuclear power to be replaced by renewable energy sources as part of the energy transition. The last nuclear power plant will be shut down by 2022, and coal is scheduled to be phased out by 2038. The share of eco-electricity is to rise to 65 percent by 2030 – in the first half of 2019, the contribution to covering electricity consumption was 44 percent, according to figures from the BDEW energy association.
The target of 65 percent is only possible with an accelerated expansion of photovoltaic systems and offshore and onshore wind energy, according to a paper published by energy and environmental associations.
Katherina reiche, chief executive of the german association of municipalities (VKU), called for the 65 percent target to be enshrined in the renewable energy law. The chief executive of the energy association BDEW, stefan kapferer, said that there is no problem with wind power in terms of knowledge, but rather with implementation. “That”s exactly where we have to go.”
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