13 Jan 2022, 13:39
Benjamin Wehrmann

Bavarian industry calls for end to state’s strict wind power distance rules

dpa/ Die Welt / Handelsblatt / Clean Energy Wire

Industry companies are calling for an end to the southern German state of Bavaria’s particularly strict minimum distance wind power rules. Bavarian industry association vbw wants the conservative CSU state government to abandon the current 10H-rule, which stipulates that new turbines must be constructed at a distance from residential areas that equals at least ten times their own height, arguing that it is hindering significant progress of the economic powerhouse state’s energy transition. “We have to declare that the 10H-rule has been a mistake, meaning we don’t need it any longer,” vbw Bertram Brossardt said at the presentation of the vbw’s annual energy transition monitoring report, news agency dpa reported in an article carried by Die Welt. Brossardt added that boosting renewable power capacity will not be possible “without impositions and interventions in our natural landscape.” The rule, which was introduced to improve local acceptance of turbines, has brought wind power expansion in the state almost to a standstill. It also clashes with new federal economy and climate minister Robert Habeck’s plans to greatly improve Germany’s emissions reduction and renewable power production record over the next decade. Bavaria’s state premier, Markus Söder, said the 10H rule isn’t to blame for his state’s poor wind power expansion record, but rather the lack of suitable locations in the terrain bordering the Alps. “In Bavaria there are fewer appropriate locations for wind power, meaning they need to be clustered in certain areas – which causes problems with acceptance in the local population,” he argued in an interview with Handelsblatt. The state’s economy minister, Hubert Aiwanger from the Free Voters party, said the 10H rule could at least be softened, such as by removing it for so-called repowering projects at existing wind power locations that were built before the rule took effect.

The vbw’s energy transition monitoring for Germany and Bavaria found that “the progress on key indicators, including power supply security and prices, is worrying.” Slow grid expansion is causing billions of euros in additional costs due to bottleneck management measures, the analysis found. Faster grid and renewables expansion, coupled with an infrastructure for green hydrogen production and distribution, is therefore urgently needed in order to reduce cost pressure on companies in the state and comply with national and European climate targets.

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