08 Feb 2022, 14:07
Benjamin Wehrmann

Bavaria’s econ min says exceptions to state’s strict wind power distance rules are necessary

Clean Energy Wire

The strict minimum distance rules for new onshore wind turbines in Bavaria need to be relaxed to ensure a faster expansion of the renewable power source, the state’s economy minister Hubert Aiwanger has said. Aiwanger, a member of the the Free Voters party said there should be “prudent exceptions” to the state’s current 10H-rule, which stipulates new turbines must be built a distance of at least ten times their height away from residential areas. Exceptions could mean the minimum distance is capped at 1,000 metres in certain areas, or to ease construction in woodlands. The height of modern turbines means the 10H-rule often results in distances of up to 2,500 metres. In a meeting with representatives of Bavarian regions, the minister discussed how planning and licensing at the local level can be improved to accelerate wind power expansion in the state. Closely involving regional authorities would mean minimum distance rules are more in line with actual conditions on site, Aiwanger argued, which could increase acceptance by local residents and allow exceptions to rules where appropriate. In order to improve acceptance, there should also be clear options for landowners and municipalities to receive a share of the profits generated from wind power production, the minister added.

Industry companies in the state have already called for an end to Bavaria’s particularly strict minimum distance rules, which the conservative CSU, senior coalition partner to the Free Voters, so far has vigorously defended. The economic powerhouse state has one of the lowest wind power capacities in Germany, despite having the largest land area. This position will be difficult to maintain, as the new federal government has said it wants to ensure at least two percent of Germany’s total area are made available for wind power production. Federal economy minister Robert Habeck visited the state recently to discuss the issue and agreed that Bavaria’s government has until March to explain how expansion could be revived.

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