German parliament passes contentious wind turbine distance rule and removes solar cap
Clean Energy Wire / Handelsblatt
Germany’s parliament is preparing to pass regulation about the minimum distance of wind turbines and support payments for solar power, resolving two major points of contention that have nagged on the country's energy policy for months. Matthias Miersch, energy politician of the Social Democrats (SPD) in an e-mailed statement said the opt-in for federal states regarding minimum tubine distances and the removal of the solar support cap had allowed the government to "cut through two big knots." He warned the breakthrough gave no reason to be complacent, urging a more comprehensive reform of Germany’s Renewable Energy Act (EEG)in autumn.
State governments also agreed to the final paper from talks between Chancellor Angela Merkel and the state premiers on Wednesday evening, which stated that a "rapid expansion of renewable energies and the necessary networks" was "urgently required,” Handelsblatt reports. The paper confirms the increase of the expansion targets for offshore wind energy, among other reforms, with the aim of bringing the share of renewables in the country's power consumption 65 percent green energy by 2030. The states also welcomed the resolution of questions over wind turbine minimum distances.
A debate around minimum distances rules had been going on for months after the SPD's conservative coalition partner, the CDU/CSU alliance, made proposals that would further tighten the already-controversial minimum distance of 1,000 meters. The wind power industry rejected this as “unacceptable,” saying it would further reduce land available for onshore wind power. After a fierce debate between the coalition partners, they settled on an “opt-in” regulation, which leaves the decision of whether and how to regulate wind turbine distances up to states.