German wind industry warns distance rules threaten country's competitiveness
Clean Energy Wire
The German government's planned new minimum distance rules for onshore wind turbines from residential areas puts the country's position as a leading wind power market and its entire industrial basis gravely in danger, the national wind power lobby group BWE says in a press release. The BWE cites media reports about an unpublished analysis by the economy ministry (BMWi), which is said to predict a reduction of the available land area for turbine construction by up to 40 percent due to the new rules. "The wind industry already has lost 40,000 jobs due to the severe restrictions imposed by the federal government," the BWE said, arguing that further tightening of regulation would "consciously reduce production and employment" in the country. Moreover, a slump in wind power expansion would put the government's renewable energy goals in danger and threaten the supply with renewable power of millions of new e-cars projected to be on the road by 2030. The association says if current trends persist, the installed net wind power capacity could actually shrink by 2021. "This not only threatens the existence of the broad network of value creation in wind power, but also puts supply security and Germany's industrial competitiveness in jeopardy," as wind industry is projected to form "the backbone of the future energy system," said BWE head Hermann Albers.
The new rules included in Germany's Climate Action Programme stipulate a minimum distance of 1,000 metres between wind turbines and residential housing but allow the federal states and municipalities to deviate and impose less strict rules. Thousands of planned onshore wind projects in Germany are currently put on hold, mainly due to regulatory conflicts with aviation authorities but also due to protest groups challenging new installations in court. Engineering association VDMA Power Systems has recently warned that a persisting slump in wind power expansion would put nearly one-third of all jobs in the industry at risk.