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Cabinet Approves Bill: Wind Power Must Expand Quickly

Cabinet Approves Bill: Wind Power Must Expand Quickly

Status: 06/15/2022 14:03

The cabinet has approved a bill that aims to significantly speed up the expansion of onshore wind power. For many people that will mean impertinence, said Economy Minister Habeck. However, it is necessary.

In the future, the federal states will have to provide much more land for wind power. The Federal Cabinet initiated a bill according to which a total of 1.4 percent of the federal area will be allocated to wind power in Germany in 2026 and the target of two percent will be reached in 2032. The Federal Minister of Economics, Robert Habeck said that the federal states where the wind blows the strongest would have to reach a share of 2.2 percent and others only 1.8 percent.

Strict special rules in some federal states

Other criteria are population density or the size of nature reserves. City states would have to provide 0.5 percent of their area. In eight years, according to the will of the federal government, two percent of Germany’s land area should be usable for wind energy. However, in many places there is a lack of available space. According to Habeck, only about 0.8 percent of the federal area is currently designated for onshore wind power, and only 0.5 percent is actually available.

One of the reasons for this is that some countries have particularly strict special rules. In Bavaria, for example, the so-called 10H rule applies: When building new wind turbines, a minimum distance of ten times the height of the system to the nearest residential area must be maintained. In Thuringia, wind power in the forest was completely prohibited. Habeck pointed out that the draft allows federal states to cede areas for wind power to each other through a state treaty.

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Habeck sees a competitive advantage in wind power

The package of laws will ensure that large-scale expansion moves forward again, Habeck said. This is critical to achieving climate protection goals and becoming less dependent on fossil fuels. According to Habeck, he does not want to hide the fact that a further expansion of wind power would also not be reasonable for many people and some regions. Politicians must respond to fears and concerns, but this must not lead to political gridlock or an inability to act. Habeck also pointed out the economic importance of wind power: it has now become a locational advantage for renewables.

Federal Construction Minister Klara Geywitz also expects a rapid expansion of renewable energies from the new legislative package. The federal government tried to “remove all obstacles in the field of wind,” Geywitz said. “Not only will we define the objectives … but we will also have legal consequences if these objectives are not achieved.” The SPD politician named a general privileging of wind turbines that was planned at the time. With his project, the government is also taking into account urban sovereignty in the place, according to the Minister of Construction.

Special situation for renewable energies

In April, the cabinet had already launched an “Easter Package” to expand renewable energy. Amendments to the law are currently being discussed by the Bundestag and the Bundesrat. Consequently, as of 2035, electricity in Germany should be generated almost entirely from renewable energies and thus be almost greenhouse gas neutral. Among other things, it is legally established that renewable energies are “of superior public interest” and serve public safety. This gives them a higher priority in the so-called weighing of interests.

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In this way, areas can be gained for wind energy that are already designated but blocked by other “protected assets”. Protected assets include animals, plants, water, monuments and human health. The cabinet also initiated a reform of the Federal Nature Conservation Law, which aims to simplify the species protection test for wind turbines.