02 Sep 2019, 13:13
Freja Eriksen

Slowdown in wind power expansion could signal end to Germany's “green fairy tale” – commentary

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Germany's "green fairy tale is in danger" as wind power expansion in the country has almost come to a "complete standstill," writes Michael Bauchmüller in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. As only 86 new onshore wind turbines were connected to the German power grid in the first half of 2019, while 51 were decommissioned, economy minister Peter Altmaier has called representatives of the German wind power industry to a crisis meeting on 5 September. On top of this, many turbines will fall out of the 20-year support guaranteed by the German Renewable Energy Act (EEG) in the next few years and might be taken off the grid without a replacement, writes Bauchmüller. Politicians must "be more courageous in explaining why wind turbines are an indispensable part" of the energy transition, he argues, while municipalities should gain from wind turbines in their area, for example through a levy.

As a leading element of the country's renewables industry, onshore wind power is key to Germany’s energy transition – but expansion in the sector has fallen to the lowest level in nearly 20 years in the first half of 2019. Regulatory difficulties and lawsuits against new wind projects threaten not only turbine manufacturers but also Germany's renewable expansion and emissions reduction targets as a whole.

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