Nine-year completion time illustrates struggle of Germany's wind farms
The case of a new wind farm in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia that took nine years to complete illustrates the difficulties project developers across the country face when trying to implement new onshore wind power projects, Patrick Nowicki writes for the Aachener Zeitung. The wind farm in the municipality of Hürtgenwald consists of five turbines that are projected to feed about 50 million kilowatt hours into the grid, enough to power 14,000 households, and citizen energy projects own more than half of the turbines, Nowicki writes. But getting the project to work has been challenged by repeated changes to construction regulations and to the support regime, and by recurring debates about the wind farm's construction in a woodland. "Some reports for local politicians encompassed more than one thousand pages," Nowicki says.
While wind power has firmly established itself as Germany's most important renewable energy source and at times even forms its single largest power source, construction and licensing of new turbines on land have fallen to the lowest level in two decades in 2019. Regulatory difficulties and protests by local interest groups are seen as the biggest hurdles to continued wind power expansion. The government is trying to overcome the current slump by finding agreement on minimum distances for turbines from residential areas and a slew of other measures, but so far it has failed to reconcile opposing interests.