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06 May 2022, 13:48
Julian Wettengel

Mandatory share in wind power profits to communities constitutional

Clean Energy Wire

Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court has ruled that laws requiring wind park operators to give neighbouring residents or communities the opportunity to share in the profits are generally in line with Basic Law (Grundgesetz). The court examined a state law from Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, which requires operators to set up a project company to give local residents and municipalities the chance to participate in earnings, either by allowing them to purchase at least 20 percent of the project company’s shares or by offering savings product with interest rates to local residents, and paying a levy to the municipalities. “The interests of the common good that the legislation seeks to promote – protecting the climate, preventing fundamental rights from being adversely affected by climate change, and securing the electricity supply – are of sufficient weight to justify the serious interference with the project developers’ occupational freedom [enshrined in Germany’s Basic Law] resulting from the obligation to enable such participation,” the court said in a press release.

By letting nearby residents and communities participate financially in wind parks, the government hopes to improve public acceptance of such facilities, as it is aiming to “massively” expand renewables over the coming years.

The onshore wind agency Fachagentur Windenergie an Land said the expansion of wind energy in Germany stalled in the first three months of 2022. By the end of March, only 99 wind turbines with an output of 407 megawatt (MW) had been put into operation. “This makes this spring one of the weakest in terms of expansion for over ten years,” said the agency in a press release.

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