Merkel backs compensation payments for wind turbine neighbours
Clean Energy Wire
People living near onshore wind farms in Germany should be compensated financially, chancellor Angela Merkel has said. At a New Year's event in the eastern coastal state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Merkel said people living in cities would experience the energy transition quite differently from those living in rural areas, with the former being mostly in favour of more renewable energy sources and the latter being those who have to put up with the infrastructure necessary for achieving this goal. "Of course, it's very easy to be in favour of wind power if you live in a city. But in the countryside, you can be really affected," Merkel said, adding that she "very much" approves of a proposal made by her conservative CDU's government coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party (SPD), to let people living near wind turbines share in the profits made with the installations.
SPD politicians have proposed the compensation payments as a possible remedy to widespread protests against new wind power projects in the country. Even though a clear majority of people endorse further wind power expansion, many projects are currently put on hold due to lawsuits coming from resident interest groups. However, critics say compensation payments are no solution and would pave the way for lawsuits against all kinds of new infrastructure projects, including roads or railways, with the aim of making financial gain.