New German gov’t must back goal of 2% land area for wind power with other measures - advisors
Clean Energy Wire
The possible next German government’s plans to dedicate two percent of the country’s land area to wind power generation will need to be backed by a wide range of additional activities to ensure that the country’s most important renewable power source can contribute to decarbonisation efforts as planned, the government advisory board Competence Centre for Environmental Protection and Energy Transition (KNE) has said. The KNE said that 105 gigawatt (GW) of wind power capacity need to be installed in Germany by 2030, meaning an additional 7 GW per year. The target set by the government so far is merely 71 GW by 2030. The currently available area for turbines is only about 0.5 percent of the territory, enough for about 20 GW of capacity expansion, whereas 105 GW would need at least 1.3 percent. Taking into account restrictions such as the exclusion of forest areas, 2 percent would be necessary. The advisory board urged better regional planning and a more efficient use of existing locations as first steps to maximise output. If individual states fail to provide the necessary areas “as is expected”, there should be a transparent protocol to follow which allows to agree on “adequate and relatively conflict-free” areas "in fair negotiations”, the advisors said with a view to the still heavily disproportionate expansion of wind power use across the country. However, the KNE stressed that a general relaxation of planning procedures and land use regulations at the federal level is necessary to accelerate turbine construction. The states and the national government would need to engage in a “smart and open-minded fashion” to overcome the challenges of wind power expansion.
Wind power expansion has significantly lagged behind required levels for several years now in Germany, although latest data by the energy ministry (BMWi) confirmed a modest upward trend regarding new turbine construction and licensing. Between January and September 2021, expansion was 50 percent higher than in the year before, outgoing economy minister Peter Altmaier said in early November, adding that “important levers have been pulled” to prepare the ground for further expansion.