26 Nov 2020, 13:33
Benjamin Wehrmann

Replacing Germany's old wind turbines needs policy boost – energy industry

Clean Energy Wire

Regulatory hurdles often stand in the way of replacing old wind turbines with new and more efficient models at the same location in Germany, making renewable power targets harder to achieve, the energy industry association BDEW has said in a position paper. The BDEW offers a set of proposals that could make the so-called repowering of turbines more practicable. "A lot of turbines will lose their guaranteed support soon once they become older than 20 years," warned BDEW head Kerstin Andreae, arguing that operators should be able to continue renewable power production with new turbines at existing locations. "While unfavourable wind conditions or protests by residents prevent the construction of new installations elsewhere, we already have a lot of locations with good conditions and accepting residents," she said, adding that this would amount to "squandering huge potentials" for renewable power. The biggest problem for repowering would be changes to licensing made over time, meaning many locations no longer fulfil the requirements for new turbines even if these are less intrusive than older ones. The BDEW said rules for potential repowering locations should be reconsidered, especially in terms of environmental protection, landscaping and immissions control.

Repowering of wind turbines is regarded as a crucial measure for ensuring that Germany stays on track towards reaching its goal of having a share of 65 percent renewables in power consumption by 2030 and, by implication, of associated emissions reduction targets. The economy ministry has said it will work towards giving older turbine locations a new lifeline by removing hurdles to modernisation and facilitating direct power purchase agreements (PPAs) between turbine operators and companies.

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