WWF calls for higher renewables and onshore wind energy targets in Germany
Clean Energy Wire
The targets for renewable power consumption and wind energy expansion on land set by the German government's new climate action package require a significant boost, NGO WWF has said in a position paper. Instead of raising the share of renewable energy sources in the country's power consumption to 65 percent by 2030, a 75 percent share should be aimed for – and the 65 percent target should be made legally binding, WWF proposes. The expansion target for onshore wind energy should also be changed to net 2,500 megawatts (MW) annually as current gross targets do not take into account shutdowns and replacements of old turbines.
The climate cabinet's decision to maintain a minimum distance for onshore wind turbines to residential areas of 1,000 metres is "not a sensible way" to achieve either public acceptance or species' protection and will "prevent expansion instead of pushing it forward”, said Michael Schäfer, head of climate action and energy policy at WWF Germany. WWF also proposes allocating more money and hiring more staff at planning and licensing authorities, involving residents early in the planning phase and ensuring that local communities regularly participate financially in wind projects.
After years of rapid growth, onshore wind power expansion in Germany is threatening to come to a standstill, having fallen to its lowest level in nearly 20 years. The wind industry says regulatory difficulties and lawsuits against new wind projects endanger not only turbine manufacturers but also Germany's renewable expansion and emissions reduction targets as a whole. Neither a national wind summit nor the German government's climate action plan have, however, offered measures which would improve the situation, according to the country's wind power industry and NGOs.