Standstill in grand coalition working group on renewables expansion
Talks in the grand coalition’s Acceptance/Energy Transition parliamentary working group, which is tasked with developing measures to ensure Germany can reach its goal to expand renewables to 65 percent of German electricity consumption, have got stuck, writes Christian Schaudwet in Tagesspiegel Background. The parliamentarians are especially concerned about securing acceptance from citizens for new onshore wind turbines. The Social Democrats oppose the conservatives’ proposal for a nationwide introduction of minimum distances to residential areas, and are calling for concrete annual interim steps for additional renewables capacity to be decided in the working group before the parliamentary summer break.
The Federal Environment Agency (UBA) recently said that a mandatory minimum distance for wind turbines from residential areas would severely threaten Germany’s transition to renewables. Wind power has become Germany’s most important source of renewable energy and its second biggest source of electricity overall after coal. The German government aims to cover 65 percent of power consumption with renewables by 2030. But across the country, local residents’ groups have protested against the construction of new wind parks. Germany’s wind power lobby, the BWE, warns that “increasingly professional” protest groups are putting the country’s renewables targets in jeopardy.