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12 May 2022, 14:00
Edgar Meza

Area for wind power expansion in Germany ‘clearly available’ - study

Clean Energy Wire

Germany’s 16 federal states have sufficient space available to achieve the country’s minimum target of using 2 percent of its land area for wind energy, according to a study conducted by the Fraunhofer Institute for Energy Economics and Energy System Technology (IEE), and commissioned by environmental planning company Bosch & Partner and the German Wind Energy Association (BWE). In their nationwide area assessment, which updates an earlier 2011 study, they divided potential areas into six different “conflict risk classes”, from class 1 (no conflict risk) to class 6 (not usable). About a quarter of the country’s land area (roughly 93,000 square kilometres) are not excluded areas, said Carsten Pape, IEE head of scenarios and system modelling. The study found that there is more than enough space in states with large rural areas. “The area potential for the expansion of wind energy and thus sufficient energy production is clearly available,” the IEE stated, adding that this was also the case for the states of Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Saxony, which so far have lagged far behind in terms of wind expansion. “In view of the energy-intensive industries, there is an enormous need to catch up.” At the same time, there is also potential in so-called city-states, such as Berlin, Hamburg and Bremen, as well as in industrial areas. The Port of Hamburg, for example, already boasts 14 wind turbines. 

While Germany for a long time led the field in installing onshore wind power capacity in Europe, the sector has struggled in recent years as domestic expansion dropped to the lowest level in two decades in 2019. Securing enough land area and minimum distances to residential areas for new turbines has been a hotly debated topic for years and the government hopes to resolve key challenges with its next reform of the country's renewable energy laws.

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