09 Aug 2023, 13:53
Sören Amelang

German wind industry decries “sabotage” of turbine rollout by Autobahn operator

Tagesspiegel Background

Germany’s wind industry has accused the operator of the country’s motorways of sabotaging the roll-out of wind turbines, which are key to reaching climate targets. The government-owned company Autobahn GmbH refused the permits necessary for the transport of large wind turbine parts without justification across the board, causing havoc at windfarm construction sites. This is according the head of Germany’s wind power industry association BWE, Wolfram Axthelm, in an op-ed for climate and energy newsletter Tagesspiegel Background. “This [lack of permitting] stops the realisation of projects that have already been awarded a contract and causes standstill in the logistics chain,” Axthelm wrote, adding that the situation caused by the “boundless failure” of the company was untenable. “The otherwise good performance of the government coalition in the expansion of renewables is being sabotaged.”

About 20,000 transport permit applications are currently pending, with processing times ranging from 2 to 14 weeks, according to the lobby group. The government-owned Autobahn GmbH heads planning, construction, maintenance and operation as well as financing of the motorways, and is overseen by the transport ministry. Axthelm said the transport ministry suggested using waterways instead, which he described as totally unrealistic. He called on transport minister Volker Wissing of the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) to no longer ignore the “despairing” situation. More than 30,000 transport permits will have to be granted per year in the future if Germany is to achieve its targets for the rollout of wind power, according the BWE.

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