04 Aug 2022, 13:55
Benjamin Wehrmann

Wind power industry appeals to Bavaria to “change course” and embrace new turbines

Clean Energy Wire

The expansion of onshore wind power in Germany continues to be too sluggish to meet the country’s ambitious renewable power targets, with industrial powerhouse Bavaria being particularly reluctant to boost the country’s most important renewable power source, wind power industry group BWE has said. A new analysis by wind power research agency FA Wind had confirmed that expansion figures in the first half of 2022 remained at the same low level as the same period last year, with licensing numbers for new projects also lagging behind desired volumes. “Especially in southern Germany, existing challenges are becoming massively more persistent,” the BWE commented. Several German states, “above all Bavaria,” had to end their “deflection manoeuvres” with calls for nuclear power runtime extensions or natural gas fracking. These were “solely intended to direct attention away from the actual problem: Bavaria for years has obstructed the construction of a sustainable energy supply in its own state,” the wind power lobby group said. Bavaria’s contested 10-H rule, whereby new turbines must be built at a distance from residential areas equaling at least ten times the turbine’s height, is now even criticised by the state’s industry. Meanwhile, Germany’s biggest state only added three new turbines in the first half of this year. “There has to be a change of course on wind power,” BWE head Hermann Albers said. With over 4.5 percent of its large territory potentially being fit for wind power generation, Bavaria has enough space “to still manage the turnaround,” Albers said.

He added that other states, for example Hesse or Saxony, could also do a lot more to advance wind power expansion and appealed to state governments to use new powers given to them in defining potential areas. “The states have lamented for years that there is no clear roadmap by the federal government,” he said. “Now, there can no longer be any doubt about the plans for wind power.”

Less than one percent of Germany’s land area is currently designated as potential wind turbine construction locations, and about 0.5 percent are actually being used. The government aims to roughly double the capacity of onshore wind power in the country to 115 gigawatts (GW) by 2030, much of which can be achieved by replacing old turbines with modern ones at existing construction locations in so-called repowering operations.

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