Nuclear extension plea and strict wind turbine rules in Bavaria’s energy plan irk opposition
Bavaria’s economy minister Hubert Aiwanger’s presentation of the southern German state’s energy policy strategy has angered opposition politicians due to the government’s insistence on its strict wind turbine distance rules and its bid to extend the runtime of the state’s last nuclear power reactor. The presentation of the “Bavaria Energy Plan” by the government coalition of Aiwanger’s Free Voters and the conservative CSU of state premier Markus Söder had been eagerly awaited, given the urgency that the current energy price crisis in Europe has lent to the topic, Andras Glas writes in Süddeutsche Zeitung. Bavaria already sources about 52 percent of its electricity from renewables, particularly from solar PV installations, but ranks among the states with the lowest wind power capacity in Germany. However, Aiwanger said the state government would stick to its controversial 10H-rule, stipulating that new turbines have to be built at a distance to residential buildings equalling at least ten times their own height, which drastically shrinks the available space. The general rule will remain in place, although the government has allowed some exceptions to its strict interpretation. A promise to build 800 new turbines by state premier Söder was not included in Aiwanger’s announcement, merely a “multiplication” of the existing capacity, Glas writes. At the same time, Aiwanger called for extending the runtime of the Isar 2 nuclear reactor for several months beyond its scheduled decommissioning at the end of the year, an idea that federal economy minister Robert Habeck from the Green Party had rejected multiple times. Bavaria’s Green Party called the state government’s plan “pathetic,“ while the Social Democrats (SPD) said it would do the state’s energy transition a disservice.
Industry associations have warned that the economic powerhouse state could lose competitiveness if it fails to fully embrace clean power production. Bavaria's government recently said it aims to greatly increase its renewable power generation capacity but the regional arm of wind industry association BWE criticised the announcement, saying more clarity was needed how to achieve it.