German econ minister proposes levies, cheap electricity for wind power communities
In an effort to reduce resistance to new wind farms, German economy minister Peter Altmaier is proposing levies to municipalities and reduced electricity tariffs for local residents, Focus Online writes, citing a report by dpa. A document from the economy ministry seen by the German news agency calls for mandatory levies to be paid by wind farm operators to nearby communities. Operators should be allowed to decide themselves whether they also offer residents reduced electricity rates, according to the paper. According to Altmaier's proposal, operators of a new wind farm should pay or offer to pay a mandatory annual levy to the community of at least 0.2 cent per kilowatt hour (kWh). Depending on the location and electricity yield, the ministry expects operators to pay communities some 20,000 euros a year.
Resistance from local residents is one of the major obstacles to faster wind power expansion in Germany. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s governing coalition last year approved a climate package that called for municipalities to benefit financially when new plants are built. It later also proposed that residents should receive part of the profits from the generated wind energy. The government’s wind power strategy has stalled since Altmaier submitted a task list late last year aimed at supporting the expansion of onshore wind power. The government’s entire energy policy depends on the expansion of green electricity. Germany’s last nuclear power plant is scheduled to go offline at the end of 2022; the share of green electricity in total consumption is expected to climb from more than 40 percent currently to 65 percent by 2030.