German govt to curtail state prerogatives and cancel wind power distances - media
Reuters / ARD
Minimum distances for wind power turbines from residential areas could be suspended by Germany's federal government in a bid to accelerate the technology’s sluggish expansion, public broadcaster ARD reports based on information by news agency Reuters. According to a draft law seen by Reuters, the government wants to introduce changes to planning and construction law as well as to environmental law, with the aim of reserving two percent of the country’s area for onshore wind power. This is more than twice the area that is currently designated. Minimum distance rules, which are set by German states to minimise conflicts with neighbours, could remain in place as long as each state fulfils its contribution to national wind power buildout targets. The amendments might be adopted as early as this month, ARD reported. The federal government is justifying its intervention in state law with the requirements imposed by climate action obligations and with national security considerations in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which highlighted the greater energy import independence Germany could achieve with a resolute ramp-up of its renewable power capacity. According to Reuters, the draft says the new “Onshore Wind Law” is supposed to “drastically accelerate” expansion and “do away with all hurdles and constraints” that currently slow it down.
Less than one percent of Germany’s land area is currently designated as potential wind turbine construction locations, and about 0.5 percent are actually being used. The government aims to roughly double the capacity of onshore wind power in the country to 115 gigawatts (GW) by 2030, much of which can be achieved by replacing old turbines with modern ones at existing construction locations in so-called repowering operations. If the two percent-target is achieved, Germany could potentially construct onshore turbines with a total capacity of 165 GW, the draft law said.