States call on federal govt to lower economic risks posed by turbine lawsuits
Clean Energy Wire
The Bundesrat, Germany's council of state governments, wants to increase planning security for wind power project developers. It has proposed changes to the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) which would ensure that developers do not lose support or receive fines while facing opposition or legal action against the approval of turbines. Lawsuits can mean that projects must be suspended for longer periods of time, while developers' deadlines for receiving support through the EEG must still be upheld and funding periods have already been set. The Bundesrat calls for deadlines to be suspended in order to reduce the economic risk posed by litigations. "The economic risks must remain calculable for the project developers" even as the support awarded in auctions decreases and procedures become more complex, said the council. In a statement, the federal government declared it will not support the initiative but is aware of the problems and is examining whether the issues can be dealt with through an upcoming amendment to the EEG in the first half of 2020.
Lawsuits and local resistance groups, excessive bureaucracy and restrictive regulation are seen as the greatest obstacles for the German wind power sector which is facing a steep drop in expansion levels. Slow completion of accepted wind power projects has become a major problem for Germany's largest source of renewable energy, partly due to rules introduced when Germany switched from guaranteed support payments to auctions that reward bidders requiring the lowest level of feed-in tariffs in 2017.