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10 Nov 2020, 13:56
Charlotte Nijhuis

Energy industry calls on German states to harmonise species protection laws for wind power

Clean Energy Wire

Rules about bird protection will have to be standardised in all 16 states if Germany is to reach its wind power expansion targets, a group of energy industry associations have argued. As the Conference of German Environment Ministers (UMK) is currently discussing standardisation of a species protection law to facilitate the environmentally-friendly expansion of wind energy. an alliance consisting of the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW), the German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE), the Association of Energy Market Innovators (bne), the German Wind Energy Association (BWE) and the German Association of Local Utilities (VKU) voiced its opposition to a resolution based on the current draft.

The associations say the ministers should not adopt the draft as it stands, arguing that the proposed regulations are “often incomprehensible and partly counterproductive.” The current proposal would allow the states to establish their own rules with regard to the list of bird species at risk of collision with wind turbines, distance regulations and protective measures. “The nationwide patchwork of regulations is unsettling the authorities, project developers and courts and is slowing down the approval processes," the alliance said, adding that uniform standards and a practical testing framework that is binding on the authorities and courts are urgently needed.

The German government has set a target of 65 percent renewables in electricity consumption by 2030, but many experts argue that even more will be necessary when further sectors, such as transport and heating, become dependent on electricity. However, onshore wind power expansion in particular has been slowed down by procedural challenges and opposition from citizens.

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